Jul 27, 2018
Stopping ACL Tears

Athletic trainers know the risks for ACL injuries and the challenges that come with recovery. A new training program aims to help prevent the injury in the first place.

As reported in a press release, the ACL Play It Safe program, developed by Trent Nessler, PT, MPT, DPT, National Director of Sports Innovation for Select Medical, builds many approaches in to help prevent ACL injury. Pre- and post-exercise routines are incorporated, as well as those done on a rubber stability trainer or with resistance bands.

The exercises that are used in Play It Safe are organized to allow progression from poor to highly proficient movement. They have been selected from research due to their ability to improve motions that correlate to noncontact ACL injuries.

Along with helping to reduce ACL injuries, the program’s exercises may also help reduce lower kinetic chain injuries by nearly 50 percent. In addition, the program has a free app called ACL Play It Safe that offers training videos.

A key component of the program is that it forces athlete to train in a fatigued state. This reflects the increased injury risk athletes face as they get tired.

“What we found is that if we trained them in that fatigued state, they actually carry that over better to their actual performance on the field,” Nessler said.

“They perform stability and dynamic control exercises, which just continue to stress the body in a fatigue state,” echoed Nate Bower, PT, DPT, SCS, Market Manager at Champion Sports Medicine, said.

So far, Play It Safe has been used with soccer players at Samford University and volleyball and football athletes at Troy University. These teams reduced their time lost due to injury by 40 percent and had a 60 percent reduction in lower-extremity injuries.

Image by Fliry Vorru.



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