Pietro Tonino, MD, a Loyola University Medical Center sports medicine specialist, is urging coaches to start injury-prevention programs as young female athletes are experiencing an epidemic of injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Data from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine indicates that female athletes who play basketball and soccer are two to eight times more likely to suffer an ACL injury as compared to male athletes. According to Tonino, the epidemic is getting worse as more females play sports.

As such, he says injuries can be prevented with simple warm-up programs. Tonino explains that FIFA 11+ is a warm-up program designed to reduce injuries among male and female soccer players. The program should be performed, as a standard warm-up, at the start of each training session at least twice a week. Teams that perform this warm-up program at least twice a week experience 30% to 50% fewer injured players, according to FIFA.

Tonino, who has performed surgeries to repair ACL tears, states, “We can get athletes back on the field or the court, and they can perform at very high levels A reconstructed knee can never be as good as a God-given knee.” Tonino adds, “So athletes, coaches and parents should do everything possible to prevent ACL injuries. Spending a few minutes on injury-prevention exercises at the beginning of practice can benefit an athlete for the rest of his or her life.”

Source: Loyola University Health System