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UW health hopes to prevent rise in ACL injuries

Published On: Mar 02 2014 06:57:00 PM CST   Updated On: Mar 02 2014 06:57:08 PM CST

MADISON, Wis. -

Knee injuries in professional sports are common. Big names in all of the major four sports have their share of horror stories about torn ligaments and blown knees. 

But at a UW Health clinic at the McClaine Center, doctors and athletic trainers hoped to prevent those kinds of injuries in a group that sees them more than the pros: high school girls.

According to UW Health, high school girls who are involved in sports, are four to eight times more likely to suffer major knee injuries than their male counterparts.

"Athletes will tell you they heard a tear or a pop and it really is a life changing and devastating injury," Said Dr. Alison Brooks. Brooks works with the Badger women's hockey and men's soccer teams.

"A lot of what we're focusing on in females, is their movement patterns," she said. "Not so much their absolute strength, but their quad strength compared to their hamstring and how they move when they jump, land pivot and cut."

According to UW Health, one in 10 girls will suffer a major knee injury, like a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), that could sideline athletes for up to a year. Knee surgeries can run in the tens of thousands and the total cost of care and treatment reaches nearly $3 billion nationwide each year.

Brooks said the easiest way to recover from knee injuries, is to prevent them. The clinic ran female athletes through a dynamic warm-up and plyometric strengthening routine designed to keep things short and simple.

"Fifteen minutes, two days a week," Brooks said. "Not only are they going to make better faster stronger players, but they can decrease the risk in players by 50 to 85 percent."

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