Archive for “Acl Injuries” Tag

Youth Athletes and Sports Injuries

 

Youth Athletes and Sports Injuries

Youth Athletes
 

By Clyde Mealy
 

The demands on today’s youth athletes are higher than ever. More youths are practicing longer and more frequently with fewer days in between to recover.
 

What is the cost of competition? According to Current Sports Medicine in 2008, reports that an estimated 45 million children and adolescents participated in organized sports in the United States alone. The question is how many are being properly trained and supervised. Nowadays, there is no true off-season to rejuvenate and have some fun or to play other sports just because… School athletics are followed by open or recreation league play that continues sometimes into the next season.
 

The bigger picture here is setting these youth athletes up for severe overuse injuries.

 

The most common for overuse is the shoulder joint for baseball players. The shoulder is the most moveable and most easily injured joint on the human body. Moreover, the elbow is another joint involved in overuse or repetitive movements. Medial Apophysitis (Little Leaguer’s Elbow), Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow are becoming more common in youth athletes. These conditions are especially serious in youth athletes because they are smaller, weaker and still growing. A family physician or sports specialist with a nonsurgical treatment as the goal if diagnosed early should examine any lingering symptoms.
 

Research conducted in 2000 revealed females had a 25% greater chance of an ankle injury over males. According to NASM, the sports commonly associated with ankle sprains are basketball, soccer and volleyball. It has been estimated that 80,000 – 150,000 ACL injuries occur each year. The Prime age group is 15-24 but more injuries are reported in youth athletes ages 10-14. Girls have five times the risk for an ACL injury than boys. Dr. Labella contributes this risk to poor neuromuscular control of knee motion during athletic tasks like landing from a jump, cutting or stopping. The importance here is the position of the knee (valgus) which places additional stress on the foot/ankle complex, the meniscus and the hip/low-back. If left unchecked, this can lead to an ankle sprain that can contribute to reduced participation of the gluteal muscles. Meniscus grinding can occur in the knee along with ligament damage due to weakness. If surgical repair is needed, this can lead to a life-changing event of how sports is viewed and played in the future. Osteoarthritis is a possibility along with other surgeries in the future.
 

According to Dr. Faigenbaum, to reduce the risk of sports-specific injuries in youth athletes like ankle and knee dysfunctions we should start with education and instruction. This should include a mastery of basic movements, exercise variation, proper progressive exercises and structured recovery. Veigel suggests rule changes in sports like baseball (pitch-counts) and hockey (checking) along with improved safety equipment and conditioning programs.
 

Overall, many youth athletes sports-related injuries can be avoided by properly preparing them for activity. Playing a contact sport like football or hockey will incur some minor sprains and strains as long as the proper equipment is worn and the game is played accordingly. Teaching today’s youth the fundamentals of their chosen sport can go a long way in how youth play the game they enjoy. It is our responsibility as fitness professionals to reinforce good habits and sportsmanship on and off the playing field.
 

As a trainer and volunteer coach, I prepare all my youth athletes with the proper warm-up of dynamic stretching, light cardio, core and balance training, concentric and eccentric training using resistance/weights, plyometrics, and bodyweight exercises/drills, and a cool-down with static stretching or yoga.
 

Injury prevention is my top priority. Especially for my female Youth Athletes, I work on foot/ankle and knee mechanics to activate the proper muscle groups (gluteals) to reduce injuries. Improved sports performance is the by-product of a properly trained and supervised youth athlete. In addition, structured recovery includes nutrition, hydration and supplements when appropriate and recommended by a healthcare professional like a family physician and or Registered Dietician. As the other experts suggested, education and instruction is the key to reduce injuries in today’s active youth.
 

Resources:
 

Labella, C., & Carl, R. (2010). Preventing knee ligament injuries in young athletes. Pediatric Annals, 39(11), 714-720. doi:10.3928/00904481-20101013-10
 

Myer, G. D., Faigenbaum, A. D., Ford, K. R., Best, T. M., Bergeron, M. F., & Hewett, T. E. (2011). When to Initiate Integrative Neuromuscular Training to Reduce Sports-Related Injuries and Enhance Health in Youth?. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 10(3), 157-166.
 

Veigel, J. D., & Pleacher, M. D. (2008). Injury Prevention in Youth Sports. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 7(6), 348-352.
 

NASM Essentials of Performance Enhancement, 2007
 

 

Preventing Knee Injuries With Youth Strength Training Programs

Does Your Youth Strength Training Program Promote ACL Injuries?

 

Youth Sports knee injuries

 

The good news about knee injuries these days, and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears in particular, is that medical science has turned what used to be a career-ending injury into something most athletes can recover from in time.

 

The bad news is that ACL tears are occurring more often than ever. Anyone involved in a youth strength training program likely knows at least one athlete who has had a severe knee injury in the past year.

 

Why do these injuries occur?

 

The ACL is a small ligament that runs diagonally inside the knee and connects the upper leg (femur) to the main shin bone (tibia). It’s job is to prevent the knee from twisting or moving side-to-side more than just a few degrees. When pushed beyond its relatively small limit, the ACL can either be partially stretched or ripped completely.

 

Youth Sports training knee injuries

 

In a sports setting, the ACL almost always gets torn during a one-time event. This can occur due to contact with another athlete, or during non-contact moments where the knee may be pushed out of position from a high level of force placed on it. Non-contact situations where this normally happens are during cutting, pivoting, out-of-control stopping, and awkward landings on jumps.

 

Surprisingly, about 70% of ACL tears in young athletes occur during non-contact events. Female athletes are between 3 and 8 times more likely than males to tear their ACL. Although all youth sports have some level of ACL injuries, soccer and basketball have the most for girls playing sports. For boys, it is football and lacrosse.

 

With nearly 150,000 tears occurring annually in the United States alone, more focus has not just gone into the rehabilitation process, but also in preventing these injuries from happening in the first place.

 

How To Prevent ACL Injuries With Your Youth Strength Training Program

 

One big piece of preventing ACL tears is to focus on both the ankle and hip joints, strange as that may seem. Knees basically go where the ankles and hips send them, so ‘prehabilitation’ measures focus on those areas.

 

For the ankle, it is crucial that young athletes limit the amount of side-to-side movement that occurs in that joint. Either during one leg standing postures or when running, the more their ankles roll the better the chance it will push their knees either in or out during faster-paced athletic events. Kids who tend to roll their ankles a lot may be much more susceptible to knee injuries when they get bigger, faster and stronger in their later years.

 

The hip joint needs to both be flexible and strong to function correctly, making it a little harder to train. For the flexibility side, stretches that specifically target the hips may be needed for those with limited ability to do a deep squat. Very young athletes (ages 11 and younger) are almost never in need of these, but once the teenage years approach and growth spurts really kick in, more stretching may be warranted.

 

Youth Strength Training Program

 

Strengthening the hips can be tricky, because most athletes with weak hip muscles have learned to move in a way that shifts the stress to their stronger leg and back muscles. You’d think a basic exercise like a squat would work the hips very well, but not for those who are leg-muscle dominant already. Isolated strength for the hip muscles plus relearning other exercise patterns, such as squatting, must both be done to stabilize and protect the knees.

 

Just as important in this equation is for young athletes to learn how to move properly. Being able to efficiently absorb the force of gravity when landing on a jump can lower your ACL tear risk substantially, and is relatively easy to learn for most focused and dedicated athletes. In addition, controlling momentum during stopping and cutting movements will further decrease your risk. These skills tend to take much more repetition to improve on, but it certainly can be done.

 

Although it is true that the younger someone starts improving these skills the better chance it will lower their future injury risk, it is never too late to build the strength, flexibility and movement skill required in sports with a great youth strength training program to keep your knees stable and safe.

 

Help young athletes train the RIGHT way, perform to their full potential and learn from the very best in industry by getting your IYCA Youth Fitness Specialist Certification today!

 

Youth Fitness Training

 

SOURCES: British Association of Sports Medicine, www.livestrong.com

 

 

ACL Young Athletes Injuries Revisited

 

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Young Athletes Injuries

So yesterday I offered you a bevy of information from Erin Perry.

 

But as always, I want to hear from you.

 

IYCA Members are among the most talented and intelligent in the field
today and trust me when I say that I learn from each and every one of them.

 

Click on the link below, head over to my blog and tell me your thoughts
about ACL prevention.

 

Specifically…. What are we doing wrong?

 

How can we curb the increasing problem of ACL young athletes injuries?

 

What has to change at the Coaching and Training level to make this
happen?

 

The IYCA isn’t just about dispensing information.

 

It’s about giving our Members a voice.

 

Let’s change the industry for the better together.

 

Please, leave me your thoughts below

 

 

ACL Injuries and Young Athletes

 

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Young Athletes Commn Injury

Sooner or later you’re going to get hurt. That’s what happens when athletes train hard and play intensely. But thanks to professionals like Erin Perry, young athletes are returning to action better and faster than ever before. Not to mention, her tips in this article will help you avoid injuries before they happen.

 

Erin is a sought-after athletic therapist in Toronto, Canada, specializing in pediatric elite athletes. She has worked with the women’s national soccer teams for 8 years, as well as the national gymnastics team, and regional teams including hockey, rugby, soccer, swimming, basketball, and volleyball to name a few. Erin also runs Developing Athletics Canada and the EOS Performance Institute.

 

Brian: Erin, can you tell us about the young athletes you typically work with and how you got into athletic therapy?

 

Erin Perry: As a young person, I was athletic, I enjoyed soccer, swimming, rowing, and skiing. I experienced some injuries, but it was the concussions that caused me to ‘hang ’em up’. I figured then and there that if I couldn’t be an athlete, that I would work hard to take care of other athletes in helping them realizing their dreams. Now I specialize in pediatric elite athletes both in clinic and field situations. Their development, training and treatment are my focus. So many injuries that I treat are preventable.

 

Brian: One of the most common injuries in female athletes is a torn ACL. What are your experiences in treating this injury and your thoughts on injury prevention?

 

EP: I am so happy that you asked. Most ACL injuries are what we call non-traumatic, which simply means that it is an injury that no contact was made in. For example, a soccer player running down the line with the ball, works to move the ball inside, and suddenly falls down while hearing a pop; an ACL tear. These are all preventable! The number one cause of these types of injuries is tight hamstrings. The three hamstrings should be stretched separately, and when tested in a straight leg raise, attention must be made that the findings are made with the pelvis remaining stationary. As soon as the pelvis rotates posteriorly, the test is negated. Most females have good straight leg raise range of motion, but have poor hamstring flexibility. The difference here is crucial. Normal is 80-90degrees. Please be tested, do the tests, and tell all of your friends and teammates, so that we decrease the incidence of ACLs! The other preventable cause is a muscle imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings. I will say that this is crucial, that the three hamstrings need to be strengthened again individually. Closed kinetic chain strengthening should be done all of the time, unless it is a rehab program.

 

Brian: Is the ACL injury common among all sports?

 

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