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Escalating ACL Injuries: Illinois Athletic Trainers and Physicians Call for Screening and Prevention Programs

CHICAGO, July 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Alarmed by skyrocketing numbers of athletes with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association (IATA) and sports medicine physicians at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) are urging coaches and athletic directors to institute anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, injury screenings for all young athletes and prevention programs for those more vulnerable to ACL injuries. 

The ACL is a ligament that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone and its main function is to stabilize the knee.   Athletes who are more prone to get ACL injuries usually participate in sports that require pivoting, accelerating and decelerating, planting or cutting. 

It's estimated that nearly 400,000 ACL injuries occur in the U.S. annually, making ACL tears among the most common injuries today. But what's more concerning, is the rapid rise of ACL injuries in athletes under age 25, especially females.

The IATA and MOR sports medicine physicians, who are team doctors for the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox, have launched "Knees for Life," a public awareness campaign to recommend screenings and prevention programs for all junior high, high school, college athletes and travel teams.

"It's a known fact that if your high schooler is a college-bound athlete in soccer, lacrosse, football, hockey or gymnastics, there is a good chance of an ACL injury," says IATA President Eric Streeter.  "The reasons are stiffer competition; athletes who push themselves to emulate the pros and because more young people are playing team sports."

"I am troubled by the escalating number of athletes in our clinics with ACL injuries," says Dr. Bernard R. Bach, Jr., MOR sports medicine director.  "In just five years, the number of ACL patients we've treated has more than doubled and the number of ACL patients under 25 has tripled."

Dr. Bach added the majority of his ACL patients are young women. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), female athletes are up to 10 times more likely to tear an ACL compared to their male counterparts. 

A recent study says specific types of physical training can reduce the risk of ACL injury as much as 72 percent, especially in young women.

For more information on the program or to order a prevention gym bag tag, log on to www.KneesforLife.org.

https://twitter.com/KneesforLife
https://www.facebook.com/kneesforlife.org

SOURCE Illinois Athletic Trainers Association (IATA)

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