Kevin D. Heaton, DOBoston, MA – ACL Injuries are a rising epidemic among younger athletes. The causes involve a complex interaction between anatomical, hormonal, environmental and neuromuscular factors.

Are we pushing our young athletes too hard for too long? It is not uncommon for our athletes to be playing competitive sports year round, for multiple teams, and in multiple sports. Gone are the days of the “off season”, a time that was valuable to get some relative rest and to rehab nagging injuries. In a time where childhood obesity is also an epidemic, clearly we want to encourage physical activity in our youth but perhaps we need to find a better balance between competitive sporting activities and general aerobic fitness.

Secondly, are we are doing an adequate job of injury prevention, especially in our highly competitive athletes? The more hours an athlete puts in per year, the more chances he or she has to sustain an injury. Many studies have shown that certain warmups and injury prevention programs can significantly decrease injuries such as ACL tears, in athletes. In this day and age where athletes are being pushed harder and harder, it also becomes our responsibility to try to increase awareness and availability of such injury prevention strategies.

A recent ABC News article and story featured a young boy that suffered an ACL injury playing football at just nine years of age.  The boy learned that he had something in common with Tom Brady of the New England Patriots who also had to recover from a devastating knee injury.

See the story and article.

– Kevin Heaton, DO