Among high school athletes, the overall rate of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury occurrence is significantly higher among females.

Females are especially likely to experience ACL tears while playing basketball, soccer, and lacrosse, suggests a new study, per a media release from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study is called, “Sport-Specific Yearly Risk and Incidence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears in High School Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” and it was presented during the 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics Conference & Exhibition in Washington, DC.

A research team from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who performed the study, found significant risk of ACL injury among both genders, particularly in high-risk sports such as soccer, football, basketballm and lacrosse. While the majority of ACL injuries occur in boys, the rate of injury per exposure is higher in girls.

Specifically, in girls, the highest ACL injury risks per season were observed in soccer (1.1%), basketball (0.9%), and lacrosse (0.5%). In comparison, the highest risks per season for boys were observed in football (0.8%), lacrosse (0.4%), and soccer (0.3%), the release explains.

“It has been well-established that the risk for ACL tear per athletic exposure is higher in female athletes compared to males,” said lead author Alex L. Gornitzky, a fourth-year medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in the release.

“As participation rates in high school athletics continues to rise significantly, it has become increasingly important to establish up-to-date, individualized injury information for high school athletes and their families, who represent a large proportion of patients visiting pediatric orthopaedic and sports medicine clinics,” he continues.

Gornitzky states in the release that knowledge of such sport-specific, seasonal risk is essential for evidenced-based parent-athlete decision-making, accurate physician counseling, and targeted injury-reduction programs for the most at-risk sports.

[Source(s): American Academy of Pediatrics, Science Daily]