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Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament is one of the major stabilizing ligaments of the knee. It provides primary ligamentous stabilization while the knee approaches a straightened position. It is a vital barrier in discouraging the knee from going into hyperextension ( i.e. straightening beyond the normally straightened position ). It is part of a complex combination of cartilage and ligaments that help to keep the knee in a stable position , so that the surrounding muscles can perform their functions efficiently and forces can be appropriately distributed through the joint. This helps to limit significant trauma within the joint. Without the ligament, excessive trauma occurs to the other ligaments, cartilage, and joint surfaces.
An intricate relationship between nerve sensation within the joint ( proprioception ) and the ability to balance one’s body weight through the joint, also plays a major role in the proper stabilization of the knee during activity.
Approximately 2/3rd’s of all Anterior Cruciate Ligament injuries occur during noncontact situations, such as landing from a jump , turning/ twisting activities, or sudden stops, where there is a sudden imbalance during weight bearing.
Serious knee injuries occur two to ten times more frequently in female athletes than male athletes.
In soccer, the incidence of serious knee injuries in females occurs six times more frequently than males.
Knowing this information, what can we as parents and coaches do to discourage these injuries from occurring?

The Chicago Blast Soccer Club has initiated a program of exercises that are utilized during skills sessions and practices ( as part of their warm-ups ) to reinforce such critical factors as:

  • Strengthening the knee ( especially the Hamstring to Quadracep ratio )
  • Endurance Training that will discourage fatigue
  • Coordination Exercises that allow the player to experience balanced movement to both their dominant and nondominant sides.
  • Balance Exercises that allow the lower extremities to experience and improve both Static ( planting ) Balance and Dynamic ( cutting, jumping, landing ) Balance. This will result in an improved proprioceptive, muscular, and ligamentous relationship.
  • Agility Exercises that help to improve coordination and allow the player to negotiate obstacles within all planes.
  • Speed Exercises to emphasize more efficient running technique.
  • Reaction Time Activities that stimulate the player’s ability to react and improve their confidence to react.

By combining these activities into the team training programs, the Chicago Blast provides a comprehensive and unique program to maximize the entire development of the competitive soccer player.