We recently came across a good article on a sports blog out of the US called The Injury Insight and thought that it provided some relevant content for both our NFL fans and patients alike. Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate Dr. Rajpal Brar breaks down the alarming trend of pre season ACL injuries  and offers some insight into a few elements of risk we may be able to mitigate:

  1. Training Quantity & Intensity
  2. Training Type
  3. Playing Surface

From these listed above the playing surface is very much unmodifiable at most levels but as you will read within the article the Dr. Brar refers to the trend of very unsupervised and un-programmed off season training. Athletes are returning to pre season training camps with very different training bases making it impossible for trainers and coaches to create a starting point suitable for a whole team.

Players are commonly returning already in a state of fatigue or very underprepared which place you at an increased risk of not only ACL injury but many other musculoskeletal issues. The other factor, even if training load is accounted for is the type of training that the athletes are undertaking in their off season. This is where injuries such as ACL tears become more prevalent as the specific prevention exercises prescribed in a teams strength and conditioning programs are often neglected.

HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO AMATEUR & SOCIAL SPORT?

We might not be competing in the NFL but preventing ACL injuries is still a high priority for anyone competing in sport and physical activity. This article and many others surrounding “load management” provide us with a framework for injury prevention, a framework that can be adapted to any level. A simplified take away message is that both over and under training are troublesome and preparing for sport with some form of specific strength and conditioning is the key. Further education for coaches and trainers at all levels sport will help with this but also individuals recognising the need for some form of training and seeking out the assistance of suitably trained professionals to guide them with this. See the link here for the full article!