Why are ACL Injuries On the Rise?

NY Times
NY Times

While watching the New York Jets vs. San Francisco 49ers game today, I witnessed the second “non-contact” injury to a Jets player in two weeks. Last week, Darrelle Revis, who is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL, suffered a season-ending ACL injury. If losing Revis was not enough for the Jets, it appears that Santonio Holmes may be next, depending on the outcome of an MRI.

Non-contact injuries are on the rise in sports and in non-athletes alike. Thinking back to the 2011-2012 NBA season, Derrick Rose and Barron Davis are some athletes who come to mind with season ending non-contact knee injuries.

What are non-contact injuries?

• Injuries that occur with out an outside force, such as being pushed or tackled

Who is at risk for non-contact injuries?

• Everyone – athletes and non-athletes

When do non-contact injuries occur?

• When the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the body take on more than they have been trained to handle

Where do non-contact injuries occur?

• Anywhere – they can occur in all sports and in everyday life

Why do non-contact injuries occur?

The body moves most efficiently when there is optimal flexibility. When most people exercise, they do not train the body to improve movement and function. The lack of training the body to be more efficient during movement leads to muscle imbalances, due to some muscles being overactive and others being underactive. These imbalances cause other muscles known as synergists or helper muscles within the body to take on a more dominant role and compensate for weakened, unreactive muscles. When synergists take on this more dominant role, muscle within the body become imbalanced, which leads to altered posture and an increased risk of injury. Just imagine a pick-up truck trying to pull the load of an 18 wheeler – that’s what happens in the body when we lose focus of training to be more functional.

How do non-contact injuries occur?

• Bending over to pick up something
• Stepping down off a stair case
• Turning or twisting the body

What else?

If the body is not trained to move in all planes of motion non-contact injuries will likely occur.

• Sagittal Plane – moving the body forward (lunges)
• Frontal Plane – moving the body side to side (side lunges or shuffling)
• Transverse – twisting or turning the body (rotational lunge)

Look at your training program to make sure that you are training the body in all planes of motion. This will increase function during movement and decrease your risk of injury.

Ilen Bell is a certified fitness professional and co-founder of Black Fitness Today. His passion for community advocacy, producing relevant stories and providing tools and resources that cater to the underserved African American community remain at the forefront. His credentials include advanced education in exercise science and internet marketing, the fitness industry highly-respected certified strength and conditioning specialist certification, and multiple web fitness series on top websites LIVESTRONG.com and eHOW.com. He is focused on further building explosive, dynamic and approachable brands to help the African American man and woman feel empowered, valued and identified in the global health and fitness industry.

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