Young Female Athletes Suffer from Neglect by Their Coaches
According to a new revelation, an increasing number of young female athletes suffer needlessly from ACL knee injuries due to neglect by their coaches. This neglect comes in the form of failure to properly supervise and insure that these young athletes are utilizing injury protection programs such as FIFA 11+.
Developed by an international group of experts, FIFA 11+ is a scientifically designed and tested complete warm-up program that studies have shown reduces injuries among male and female football players aged 14 years and older.
Orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine health expert Dr. Pietro Tonino, director of Sports Medicine at Loyola is alerting and encouraging parents to demand that their children’s coaches start utilizing injury-prevention programs to cut down a rate of knee-related sports injuries that he describes as reaching epidemic proportions due to increasing numbers of young women participating in sports.
“I’m tired of seeing so many girls and young women with ACL injuries in my clinic,” says Dr. Tonino. “Many of these injuries could be prevented with a simple warm-up program that can be done in minutes.”
Dr. Tonino’s concerns are supported by past recommendations by The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) that offered a number of tips on how to prevent ACL injuries in female athletes.
In fact, according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, female athletes who play basketball and soccer are two-to-eight times more likely to suffer an ACL injury compared to their male counterparts.
The seriousness of an ACL injury goes beyond pain and recovery while young, by opening the real possibility of an increased risk of arthritis later in life as an adult.
According to a news release by the Loyola University Health System, the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It connects the front of the tibia (shinbone) with the back of the femur (thighbone) and helps provide stability to the knee joint. While minor ACL tears can be treated non-surgically, more-extensive ACL tears require surgery where an orthopaedic surgeon removes a tendon from the patient's knee and uses it to replace the torn ligament. The recovery and rehabilitation that follows will keep a child on the bench for at least 6 months.
Dr. Tonino, who has performed thousands of surgeries to repair ACL tears states that while surgery can repair the damage, the surviving knee is never the same again.
“We can get athletes back on the field or the court, and they can perform at very high levels,” says Dr. Tonino. “But a reconstructed knee can never be as good as a God-given knee.”
A fact many professional athletes can attest to who have experienced career-ending ACL injuries.
Dr. Tonino’s advice to athletes, coaches and parents is that they should do everything possible to prevent ACL injuries by spending a few minutes on injury-prevention exercises such as the FIFA 11+ that consists of a standard 20-minute warm-up at the start of each training session. According to FIFA―the governing body of the World Cup and other international soccer tournaments―teams that perform FIFA 11+ at least twice a week experience 30 percent to 50 percent fewer injured players.
“Spending a few minutes on injury-prevention exercises at the beginning of practice can benefit an athlete for the rest of his or her life,” points out Dr. Tonino.
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