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Study Finds Unique Approach to Reducing ACL Injury Risk Resonating with Coaches and Parents

New York, NY—November 6, 2017

Young athletes continue to be at-risk for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, with an estimated 250,000 injuries occurring each year in the U.S.1.  Last year, in an effort to reduce this risk, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) developed a community-based program for coaches and parents of young athletes. The HSS Sports Safety ACL Program consists of interactive workshops, offered throughout the New York City metropolitan region, that aim to significantly improve the knowledge and confidence needed to implement an ACL injury risk management program for young athletes.

A recent study, titled "Instituting a Unique Public Health Approach to ACL Injury Risk Management," looked at the early results from this initiative and was presented at the American Public Health Association annual meeting on November 6 in Atlanta.

"Of the coaches who’ve attended our workshops, 94% had never received ACL injury prevention training," said Joseph Janosky, director, HSS Sports Safety. "This is especially concerning to us since there is great evidence to support the use of neuromuscular training programs to reduce ACL injury rates."

The importance of preventing ACL injuries from happening in the first place has become even more apparent in recent years.

"Individuals who sustain an ACL disruption are six times more likely to develop degenerative changes associated with osteoarthritis, and these changes are often detected 10 to 15 years post-injury," said James J. Kinderknecht, MD, primary care sports medicine physician and co-medical director of HSS Sports Safety.

During workshops, coaches learn how to design and implement a customizable warm-up program. The study found that coaches reported significant improvements in overall knowledge (30%); perception of impact of ACL injury and prevention strategies (9%); and confidence in implementing a warm-up program specifically designed to reduce the risk of ACL injury (14%). Additional findings:

  • 97% of parents reported an increased understanding of how to reduce the risk of ACL injury for their children
  • 100% of coaches and parents said they would recommend the workshops to others

"A statistically significant improvement in coach perception and attitude toward injury prevention programming after a single workshop is a really powerful finding," said Janosky. "The ability of the educators who deliver community programs to establish meaningful and lasting connections with coaches is incredible to watch and will help us reach our goal of keeping young athletes in the game."

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



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