Feb 22, 2022
URMC Study Suggest Young Female Athletes at Greater Risk of ACL Injuries

Young, female athletes may be at a higher risk for ACL injuries, according to the University of Rochester’s Medical Center.

They say depending on the sport, female athletes, like 13-year-old Shannon McClure, are up to eight times higher risk of ACL injuries than male players, especially in traditionally-played male-only sports like ice hockey.

femaleDr. Michael Maloney, chief of sports medicine in URMC’s Orthopaedics & Physical Performance Department, did a two-hour surgery to fix McClure’s ACL after a puck was shot into her knee and she collapsed.

Maloney says severe injuries at a younger age not only affect their physical and mental health but sometimes their abilities going forward too.

“One of the things we see is that it’s not just the physical recovery that’s required, but the psychological – the emotional recovery,” said Maloney. “As a teenage female athlete in a high-demand sport [she] falls into the demographic that has the highest risk for another injury – whether it’s the same knee of the other side. Once these young athletes, male or female, have gone through an ACL tear, they automatically fall into that category of being high risk.”

The next steps for athletes like McClure are six to eight months in rehab, where doctors can help players retrain their bodies to do the same tasks in a safer way.

To learn more about the University of Rochester Medical Center and its work on ACL injury prevention and rehabilitation, click here. 

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