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RunningSThe anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is important for the proper movement of the knee. Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can be a debilitating injury to the knee. Injuries range from a small tear to completely torn and happen mainly during sports like basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, and skiing. These sports have a lot of hard and awkward landings or abrupt shift in directions which can lead to tears. In addition to the physical and psychological impact it has to your body, it also takes financial toll. However, a new study show that how teams warm up before practices and games can lower the risk of an injured knee.

Because of the growing number of these injuries, researchers have been developing programs to reduce the number. These programs are known as neuromuscular training and use a series of exercises to teach athletes how to land, change directions, plant their legs etc. These programs have been found to reduce the number of ACL tears by 50% or more.

Despite these findings, few leagues and schools across the country have adopted neuromuscular training. Not completely sure why, Dr. Eric Stewart decided to figure out what the monetary savings might be in ACL injury prevention. He and his colleagues gathered clinical trials related to neuromuscular training and used them to create a model of what would happen in a hypothetical sports league of athletes ages 14 to 22. He compared the monetary impact if they did and did not practice neuromuscular training.

First they found the average cost for surgery and rehabilitation on an ACL tear was $15,000. The incidence for those not practicing neuromuscular training was 3% which equated to about $500 per player.

They then calculated the incidence of injury dropped to 1.5% with neuromuscular training. Because many programs for this training are on-line for free the cost of training was negligible. Based on calculations they found the cost of starting a neuromuscular training program was about $1.25 per player. . . .much cheaper than visiting an orthopedic surgeon.

To give you an idea, most programs consist of 15 – 20 minutes of exercise to include marching, jumping, squatting and side-to-side shuffling. The purpose is to wake up the brain and nervous system. An example of this training is Prevent Injury, Enhance Performance (PEP) program and the FIFA 11 program. Both are free and no training is needed to teach athletes. Easy to follow videos of workouts can be found on-line for free. Below are links to their respective sites:

http://health.usf.edu/medicine/orthopaedic/smart/pep/index.htm

http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/footballdevelopment/medical/playershealth/the11/index.html

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