The Importance of Injury Prevention

Written by: Kayla Kazanowski cert. Personal Trainer with Prescription Fitness (CLE, Ohio)

When competing at a high level of athletics, many individuals think they are “invincible.” Injury prevention programming can not only prevent the onset of an injury occurring during athletic participation, but can also ease the transition into activity following an injury.

Injuries can be sport specific such as the elbow and shoulder in baseball and softball athletes to knee injuries in soccer athletes. One of the most common injuries, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, occur in approximately 50,000 female athletes competing at the high school and collegiate level per year. As adolescent females age, they begin to develop a wider pelvis that in turn causes the femur to create a sharper downward angle compared to males. This angle is referred to as the “Q” angle and leads to an increased pressure to the medial aspect of the knee—increasing the risk for an ACL tear.

Injury prevention programs for ACL tears tend to incorporate leg and core strength training, balance and speed training, teaching athletes proper jumping and landing techniques, and the implementation of orthotics and properly fitted footwear. Specifically, the incorporation of plyometrics and increased strengthening of the hamstring muscles.

 

Some activities that can be incorporated into an ACL injury prevention program include:

  • A few commonly used hamstring strengthening exercises such as a wide variety of hamstring curls, gluteal bridges, and a variety of modifications involving the Romanian deadlift.
  • Commonly used plyometrics for ACL injury prevention focus on proper knee alignment and the ability to properly absorb the landing. These jumps can range from lateral and vertical jumps for either height or distance to lunge and squat jumps.