The ACL and Environmental Issues
As you have learned in my previous posts, women are anywhere from 2-10 times more likely to tear their ACL than their male counterparts. There are a multitude of factors contributing to these statistics including anatomy, structure, biomechanics, hormones, and environmental issues. One of the major environmental issues is very easy to fix but requires more awareness and knowledge of ACL incidence rates in women in order to create a change.
Men’s sports usually have a much larger following and in turn have much more funding which can stem down into youth athletic programs as well. In most cases youth and travel men’s leagues have the funding to hire pre-season coaches who implement condition programs to prepare their athletes for the upcoming year. It just isn’t as high of a priority in the women’s leagues and this needs to change. Female athletes ages 12-17 are the most at risk population for ACL injury and yet these are also the age groups that have the fewest available and accessible quality conditioning programs for their athletes. This is a huge gap in the system because the athlete’s that are the most susceptible for ACL injury are the same athletes that have the least amount of access to the training programs that could decrease their injury risk. Even if it is difficult to get the funding for a youth girls’ team to hire a conditioning coach, it needs to become a priority and through fund raising and donations it can be done.
As female participation in sport continues to increase we need to increase the standards for our female youth athletic teams in order to create change in the terrible statistics regarding ACL injury that will affect many more young girls.