It's easiest to keep your child safe when you know what you're protecting them from. In a new blog post, Dr. Monique Burton, director of Seattle Children’s Sports Medicine Program, offers tips for identifying, treating and reducing risk of the three of the most common fall sports injuries in young athletes: concussions, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries and shin splints.
The ACL is one of four ligaments that keep the knee from wobbling or giving out when you move, Burton explains. When the knee is forced into an unusual position, the ACL and other ligaments can tear partially or completely.
ACL injuries almost always result in surgery and extensive rehabilitation, and can keep athletes out of the game for an average of eight to 12 months.
To prevent ACL injuries Burton says:
Schools, sports programs and clubs should also consider starting an ACL injury prevention program, which are shown to decrease the risk of injury. The goals of these programs are to teach players strategies to avoid injury by increasing flexibility and strength, avoid vulnerable positions and incorporating plyometric exercises into their practices.
Read Burton's full blog on preventing sports injuries for more information on concussions and shin splints.