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Friday, October 31, 2014

Dude! JUST Walk away! 
An ACL injury is the worse knee injury to sustain.  There are two types: Contact and Non-contact.  Contact is when the knee joint is 'struck' on the outside of the knee joint. This makes the knee collapse towards the midline of the body. Non-contact is the worse because it does NOT require contact. And these are the ones I briefly want to discuss.
The past few weeks saw some highly visible non-contact ACL tears that occurred during NFL games . What makes it hard to watch is how frustrating the circumstances: both were celebratory quarterback sacks! Now if you don't know, in the NFL, sacks are worth $$$!
Remember the bounty scandal where a certain NFL team would reward defensive players for 'taking out' an opposing player? Illegal. Well, sacking the quarterback is NOT the same. Its a bonus to anyone that can sack the QB. Legal!

Non-contact ACL tears are signs of inherent weaknesses above and below the knee which means the other knee can suffer the same consequence if those predisposing factors are not addressed. Now every experienced  trainer, especially those with clinical understanding of the ACL that includes rehab, assessment and management of ACL tears like me, should know that there are factors that are common in non-contact ACL tears:
  • Weak hamstrings. Hamstrings help control rotation of the hip as it sits on top of the tibia[shin bone].
  • Inability to decelerate knee flexion (think going down stairs, now think of landing after jumping off those stairs!)
  • Training in one plane of motion ie squats, leg extensions, leg curls, hack squats etc are one plane. Other planes can get weak.
  • Inherent valgus. This is typically seen in people that are obese or overweight. Think offensive or defensive lineman where you see the classic 'knocked knee' posture.
There are other factors that help significantly reduce the non-contact ACL tear. However, the ones mentioned are key. So If you are an athlete you should be addressing the key elements I just mentioned. A 'good' trainer will know that you can't just do squats, box jumps, run and think that the ACL will be protected from tears. Not so.   

My advice is if you are an athlete, male or female(see our GIRLS COMPETE ACADEMY) then seek out a competent trainer. One who can not only make you  faster, quicker and stronger, but has a good grasp of the bio-mechanics of injury especially at the knee!

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