ACL Injuries in Young Field Hockey Players
ACL injuries in Young Field Hockey Players is becoming more and more common. Everyone knows that having an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury is a big deal this is mainly because you know that you are out for a season, and that the rehab is hard work for 6-9 months. ACL injruies are becoming more common in adolescent sports, this maybe because our young athletes are involved in more high level training at a younger age. If you have an ACL injury below the age of bone maturity there is a greater risk to damaging the growth plate that has not fully cemented yet. This can not only cause long term problems but is more delicate to operate on. As we reach skeletal maturity, around 15-16 years the growth plates will be more than likely to be cemented and then ACL rupture presents similar to an adult.
So, can we do anything to help reduce our chances of ACL injury?
Here are some facts that can predispose us to injuring our ACL in field hockey.
Girls are twice as likely to injure their ACL as boys, there are many anecdotal reasons for this including; hormores, greater joint laxity, thickness of ACL and training techniques.
The two main areas that have been linked to increased risk of ACL injury are greater quads to hamstring strength.
As well as that reduced core strength is also linked to ACL injury.
Contact vs non contact sport
Surprisingly most ACL injuries happen during non contact. This means that you can injure your ACL whilst turning and stopping to change direction.
Methods of ACL injury
- Changing direction
- Landing on a straight leg
- Slowing down from ru
- nning fast
- Lateral landing
There are many drills that you can do to help with the movements above:
We know that as you are growing you are more susceptible to injury this is also the case with ACL. We maybe less coordinated, weaker in our core and our leg muscles so working on all these components will help reduce the risk of injury. Generally our growth spurts happen between 10-14 years of age and whilst this is happening our joint/ muscles and tendons are more suseptible to injury.
We always speak about fatigue as it can be such a big risk to injury. If you are not firing on all cylinders you are more likely to be sloppy with your turns or not so light on your feet. Being aware of fatigue will really help you work out when you are at risk.
Now that we are mid way through the season it’s really worth using our Christmas time to recover and get ready.
The best way to start implementing strategies to reduce ACL injuries is by looking at exercises to help.
Luckily our new warm up at Surbiton Hockey Club will help with landing and knee positions.
Hamstring strength is vital so get started on your hamstring strengthening.
The key to success is to keep doing these exercises through the season, they will help it’s just getting into the habit. Twice a week on your core/ strength and stretching will help keep you fit and reduce your risk of injury.
If you want help to improve your performance and reduce your risks of injury, get in touch.