Prevention is Key

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Imagine being team captain of your university’s basketball team, working so hard everyday to even get a fraction closer to your own expectations. The team, coach and fans look to you to lead the championship game to victory, but are completely unaware that this game may very well be your last basketball game of your career. The clock runs down with only seconds to win, you pass the ball up the court with sweat dripping down your face. You slam to the ground with excruciating pain from your knee to your thigh and just inch off the floor. The trainers tell you, “You tore your ACL.” To think all of this could have been partially prevented by just five minutes of your time doing stretches.

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is known to be the most common injury to all athletes whether it be: basketball, softball, swimming, football, etc.. The ACL is one of four major ligaments in the knee that correspond and increase stability to the joints. The ACL is the main and most important ligament in the knee because without it, the knee would have no possible way of movement which contains approximately 90% of the knee stability. According to University of San Francisco’s sports medicine team they state, “ACL injury has an annual incidence of more than 200,000 cases with ~100,000 of these knees reconstructed annually. An estimated 70% of ACL injuries are sustained through non-contact mechanisms, while the remaining 30% result from direct contact.”

Being a basketball player here at Cal State Monterey Bay, than tearing your ACL is a big fear all athletes acquire. It is statistically proven that female athletes have a higher risk of tearing their ACL than males regardless of the sport. Cal State Monterey Bay’s athletic trainer, Scott Daffern, states, “ACL tears can be prevented by doing certain exercises and stretches to sustain mobility through the knee and by our athletes trying to secure their health, it would be a great idea to implement.” I have seen multiple ACL tears or any knee injury take phenomenal athletes out of the game they love and work so hard at. I feel that all knee injuries may not be completely prevented because there are parts of whatever the sport may be that are unknowing. I do believe that our athletic training program could implement a program to help athletes work to prevent this horrific injury to keep occurring.

A good teammate of mine was recently injured from simply saving a ball out of bounds. Just a slight movement of the knee altered her whole life within an instant. I feel like this sort of accident was something that could have been prevented, but it could have maybe been not a severe if she were to strengthen her knee before hand. Other division one athletes as well as division two athletes get this kind of program so why can’t CSUMB? Why can’t CSUMB have the same advantages as other schools? It’s not like money has anything to do with it because it all depends on our coaching staff and our athletic trainers. Our trainers and coaches should be getting together to create a curriculum to sustain the knee stability in all athletes knees. Through these changes, we can decrease the average knee injuries that occur at Cal State Monterey Bay.

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