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An Analysis of Athletes' Susceptibility to ACL Injuries

The thinking goes that having a strong frame and going through an extensive exercise regimen should eliminate the threat of an anterior cruciate ligament injury.  But a wide swath of injuries to NFL players has somewhat torn apart this commonly held wisdom, because if the strength of NFL players isn’t sufficient to preventing an injury, just about anyone could be susceptible to damage.

A new report analyzes ACL injuries and attempts to figure out why NFL players may actually be more privy to such damage.  The information on hand is valuable to anyone who’s hoping to make the most of their workouts without leaving themselves open to harm.  After all, an ACL tear is one of the most painful sports injuries out there, often entailing surgery and an extensive and difficult rehabilitation regimen.

The report notes that legs must not only be strong but have sufficient mass so as to avoid an ACL injury.  Anyone who plays football will necessarily see the area around their knees struck time and time again.  But the threat may be reduced if attention is paid to strengthening calf muscles, hamstrings, and quadriceps.  Larger muscles will provide a sort of cushion to the ligaments so that the brunt of the impact isn’t on high-risk areas.

But even when these impacts take place time and time again, it’s often not impact itself that often causes an ACL tear, which could be why NFL players are far from the only ones who suffer these injuries.  Most ACL tears occur simply because a person plants their foot the wrong way when accelerating, decelerating, or jumping in the air.

So in addition to the aforementioned strength training, the author advises training that focuses on running and jumping mechanics.  One may actually have to be taught how to align their legs and hips when they’re slowing from a sprint to a trot.  The same goes for awkward movements like jogging backwards or coming to a sudden stop.  Landing the right way will also be important.

What’s important to note is that intensive exercise may not actually be what prevents an ACL injury.  In fact, it could exacerbate it, especially if an athlete attempts to push through pain or doesn’t allow their muscles substantial time to rest.  There’s also a danger posed when someone trains their lower body with various weights at the cost of their lower body.  When this happens, a person basically becomes front-loaded when they run, and it’s harder for their legs to bring the upper body to a stop.  When this happens, the threat of an ACL injury gets posed.

As you can see, balance becomes the key to prevention, not just in a workout but in how one carries themselves.  Strain and weight need to be distributed across the body to encourage ACL health.


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