Dr. Marx was recently quoted in the Daily Chronicle discussing returning to athletics following an ACL injury. Sports-related injuries, including ACL injury, are becoming more and more common in young athletes, as children begin sports earlier and specialize to a greater degree than in the past. Many athletes have aspirations to play their sport beyond the youth level in college and perhaps even professionally. However, injuries are setbacks that can greatly diminish an athlete’s potential, perhaps even earning them the label of “injury prone”.
According to Dr. Marx, some athletes can be more prone to injury than others due to how they play the sport, their balance, natural body alignment, and physical makeup. The good news, though, is that athletes may be trained to help decrease the risks of injury through balancing and strengthening exercises done regularly before practice. Some exercises to help prevent ACL injuries have been discussed in previous blog entries here and here. It is recommended that athletes also regularly perform conditioning exercises specific to their sport.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) also offers the following general advice on preventative measures:
- Ensure you are physically fit to participate in your sport
- Follow the rules of the sport
- Avoid playing when tired or in pain
- Wear proper protective gear
- Stay hydrated and warm up before playing. Dr. Marx provides specific warm-up programs in his book The ACL Solution
To prevent overuse injuries, AAOS also recommends that athletes not play all year round in order to rest. Injuries result in time away from athletics and can be both physically and emotionally taxing on dedicated athletes. Taking steps to help protect young athletes and prevent injuries will aid them in performing at their full potential on the field.