Athletes who experience fatigue—tested on a standard assessment—demonstrated an increased risk of ACL injury, according to a study.

The study, from Henry Ford Health System, was presented recently at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting.

“We studied 85 athletes at an average age of 15.4 years, and found 44.7% showed an increased injury risk after high-intensity aerobic activity,” notes lead author Mohsin S. Fidai, MD, from Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, in a media release.

“Additionally, 68% of those studied were identified as having a medium- or high-risk for injury following the activity, as compared to 44% at baseline.”

The study utilized vertical and drop-jump assessments of each athlete, which were captured on video and reviewed by 11 professional health observers. Participants included track and field, basketball, volleyball, and soccer athletes. Injury risk was also associated with the level of fatigue, as 14 of 22 athletes demonstrating more than 20% fatigue showed an increased ACL injury risk. Female athletes and those over age 15 were also more likely to demonstrate an increased injury risk, the release explains.

“While ACL injury prevention programs are commonly used now, a decrease in injury numbers has not followed suit,” Fidai comments. “We hope this study helps advocate for ACL injury prevention training programs to incorporate fatigue resistance training and awareness by coaches, trainers and physical education teachers.”

[Source(s): American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Science Daily]