Mitigate Risk of ACL Injury

Mike,
I’ve been reading your articles and following you since day one, thanks for all the information you put out there.

I recently accepted a job to coach middle school girls soccer. Up to this point, I have only coached boys. Going into the season, I am worried about the ascending injury rate occurring with young women (specifically acl/mcl). Can you point me in the right directions for any exercises, drills, mobility work that can be done to help prevent these types of injuries? Is it a matter of strengthening these areas or mobility ? Are there specific movement I should have them avoid? Any input you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Tim


Tim,

There are definitely multiple contributing factors in regards to ACL injuries.  Here are some things to focus on:

  1. Proper running mechanics
  2. Foot Strength/Mobility/Flexibility
  3. Hip Strength/Mobility/Flexibility

What we’ve noticed with some of females that have had non-contact ACL issues is quad dominance.  There are a few reasons for this to occur and some are listed above.

Fix running/playing mechanics.  Too many athletes are taught to run on their toes.  As a result of this, it causes quads/calves to be overworked and tibialis anterior & posterior chain to become underutilized.  Having athletes run with a more “whole footed” strike will do a multitude of things:

  1. Increase surface area – which will have a greater dispersal of force
  2. Facilitate tib ant & posterior chain recruitment

Foot Exercises – Here is an article I posted with some foot exercises for them to do.

Next, stay on top of hip health.  Here’s some exercises to perform that will help guide you:

Ground Based Hip Circuit Here is an article posted on a ground based hip circuit we utilize to improve hip strength.
Here’s some videos of stretches that we’ll have athletes perform:


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