TeamFirst Soccer Academy Trainer Sue Hammond and Camp Director Liza Wittenberg discuss different approaches to prevent ACL tears in youth soccer players. This is a very necessary, and ever evolving topic in the greater youth soccer community.
ACL Tear Prevention
Grammy award winning Daft Punk said it best, “Work it harder, make it better, do it faster, makes us stronger”. As athletes, we work to build successes: we work to be our best. With this in mind, injuries can be both physically and mentally debilitating, they halt all potential progress forward. Even scarier, medical statistics show an increase in torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) among young girls (Zeller). There is light at the end of this dark tunnel however: prevention! Prevention prevents correction…or in this case, prevention prevents the “halt” in progress forward. Prevention breeds successes.
Dynamic Warm-ups for Effective ACL Tear Prevention
What does this have to do with camp? Camp can be that ideal environment needed to kick-start a young girl’s prevention routine. At the Academy, we start each soccer session with an intentional dynamic warm-up, a vital ingredient to a prevention routine. Adding these dynamic drills help to improve neuromuscular conditioning and muscular reactions, ultimately preventing an ACL injury. Properly fitting shoes and the quality of the fields are also significant pieces within injury prevention routines. At the Academy, our soccer staff are trained and committed to teaching and modeling these important routines. Along with our soccer staff, the Academy’s entire Health Center Staff are versed in ACL prevention, and available at all times of camp, on and off the soccer field. Oh and our fields – we have a summer staff member devoted completely to field maintenance.
Another Side of Prevention: Cross-training and Fun at Camp
Prevention does not have to look like synchronized dynamic drills on the soccer field however; athletes reduce their risk of ACL injuries by participating in activities that require balance, strength training, and agility. Are any of the Academy’s elective programs coming to mind? Yoga, RecDeck, Outdoor Adventure, Swimming, and even canoeing and SUP help to teach girls how to balance and control their core muscles while off the soccer field. The unique setting of a traditional camp provides backdrop Who would have thought prevention could be so fun!
Staying pro-active about injury prevention makes us ‘harder, better, faster, stronger’. For more information about building a strong prevention routine talk to your coach, your doctor, or call us. Don’t forget though – prevention “drills” can be fun. Get creative!
Sue Hammond, Athletic Trainer for Team First Soccer Academy, has a long list of distinguishable positions such as: Ohio University Division 1 Trainer (1988-1998), US Women’s National Team Trainer (1989-1999), FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Trainer (1991 & 1999), Parkers Cycling Team(CVCCA) Coach, WOW (Women on Wheels) Cycling Team Coach. We are lucky enough to work with Hammond directly during our TeamFirst Soccer Academy session.
Zeller, B. (2003). Difference in kinematics and electromyography activity between men and women during the single-legged squat. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 01/2003 31(3), 449-56.