Yes – Sooner or later you’re going to get hurt. That’s what happens when athletes train hard and play intensely.
Yes – there is a lot you can do to prevent injuries, especially ACL tears, which are prevelant in young athletes, especially women.
Most ACL injuries are what we call non-traumatic, which simply means that it is an injury that no contact was made in. For example, a soccer player running down the line with the ball, works to move the ball inside, and suddenly falls down while hearing a pop; an ACL tear. These are all preventable!
The number one cause of these types of injuries is tight hamstrings. The three hamstrings should be stretched separately, and when tested in a straight leg raise, attention must be made that the findings are made with the pelvis remaining stationary. As soon as the pelvis rotates posteriorly, the test is negated. Most females have good straight leg raise range of motion, but have poor hamstring flexibility. The difference here is crucial. Normal is 80-90degrees. Please be tested, do the tests, and tell all of your friends and teammates, so that we decrease the incidence of ACLs!
The other preventable cause is a muscle imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings. I will say that this is crucial, that the three hamstrings need to be strengthened again individually. Closed kinetic chain strengthening should be done all of the time, unless it is a rehab program
Another cause of many ACL tears can be traced back to weak hip muscles, such as the gluteals.
The gluteus maximus and gluteus medius are the two large muscles in the buttocks that propel you forward and support the hip joint and pelvis. As soon as your foot hits the ground, your glutes should fire first, followed by hamstrings and then quadriceps. If the glutes aren’t strong enough to activate, the quads and hamstrings will have to pick up the slack. This throws off the alignment and mechanics of the entire leg and can lead to knee and foot problems.
Remember; the human knee is one of the most well-built force-transference mechanisms in all creation, and pain is usually the knee’s gift to us. Listen to your body and back off when needed.
For you “type-A” people who can’t back off, here is a great warm-up for you. Give this to your coach or trainer; it may save your knees!
Always warm-up the bhody with light cardio then move to Dynamic Flexibility drills. They are very effective in preparing the brain and body for the movements of sport. Dynamic warm ups get our bodies ready to do what we need them to. They increase our range of motion dramatically, warm up our bodies significantly, stretch all core muscles including the legs trunk and upper body and can be made to be sport specific.
Dynamic Flexibility warm-up
Hip rotations (both directions) 20 each leg
Walking Lunges 20 each leg
High knees 20 yards x 2
Butt Kicks 20 yards x 2
Bear crawls 20 yards x 2
Crab walks 20 yards x 2
Squat Jumps 3×8
360 Jumps 3×8
Skaters (Toe Touch) 3×8
Lateral Jumps 3×8