Don’t Fall Victim To Unnecessary Sports Injuries

Unnecessary sports injuries are an absolute tragedy for young athletes. These type of injuries are noncontact in nature and are more common than you may think. Over ⅓ of knee injuries in women’s soccer are noncontact in nature (1). The sad part is that most of these injuries can be prevented!

This topic hits home for me. I tore my UCL, a ligament in my elbow, when I was a young athlete. Tommy John Surgery and a long rehab process was a necessity if I wanted to continue in my sport. This was not simply an overuse injury as my pitch count was strictly monitored. This was a pitching form problem that could have, and should have been fixed. If only I knew then what I know now! It is a passion for me to help young athletes from all athletic backgrounds prevent unnecessary injuries such as this.

My high-school friend, Matthew Young, and myself recovering together post-surgery. Not the way anyone wants to spend the summer before college.

One of the most common injuries in high school and collegiate sports is ACL tears. A non-contact ACL tear can be the resultant of many biomechanical faults. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, athletes with the highest risk of ACL injury are between the ages of 14-18 and are twice as likely to happen to females than males (2). According to another study by the North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, athletes that have a low score on their functional movement screen have a four-fold risk increase of lower extremity injury (3).

A functional movement screen is a series of tests to evaluate the way an individual moves. These exercises can range from the ability to balance to the ability to withstand stress. The goal is to pick out flaws in an individual’s movement pattern that can leave them susceptible to injury. If we can fix these flaws, then we can prevent injury with the added benefit of actually improving performance at their sport!

Let’s make it a priority to have young athletes screened for the risk factors associated with noncontact knee injuries! Better yet, let’s make it a priority to have all young athletes screened in order to prevent life altering injuries that can be prevented!

1. Fulstone, D., et al. “Continued Sex-Differences in the Rate and Severity of Knee Injuries among Collegiate Soccer Players: The NCAA Injury Surveillance System, 2004–2009.” International journal of sports medicine 37.14 (2016): 1150-1153.
2. Renstrom, P et al. “Non-Contact ACL Injuries in Female Athletes: An International Olympic Committee Current Concepts Statement.” British journal of sports medicine 42.6 (2008): 394–412. PMC. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.
3. Chorba, Rita S. et al. “Use of a Functional Movement Screening Tool to Determine Injury Risk in Female Collegiate Athletes.” North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy : NAJSPT 5.2 (2010): 47–54. Print.

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