As a soccer player or parent, the worst thing to see is a player experience an injury to their ACL. Naturally, most players and parents don’t feel the need to pay attention to their bodies until an injury like this occurs. The most common thing we have found with most athlete ACL injuries over the past 30 years, is that the over whelming majority of players are not spending time to prevent the injury before it occurs. Here are some basic steps to take to prevent an ACL injury:
Improve your balance: Soccer is game of constant movement and change of direction. Up, down, left and right. Many ACL injuries occur because of loss of balance and instability. You can practice single leg squats (body weight) and also practice jumping into the air and landing on one foot. You can practice this before and after practice for 3-5 minutes a day.
Improving your quad and hamstring flexibility: Soccer players by enlarge focus on the strength and flexibility of the quadriceps as they see that to be their “power”. However, maintaining a good ration between the two muscles will significantly decrease the risk of injury.
Work in some plyometric exercises: Plyometric exercises are designed to be explosive. They can be box jumps or jumping back and forth over a cone. The goal with plyometric exercises is to increase the explosion your legs can produce while minimizing the impact. When doing these exercises focus on having a soft landing to reduce the impact to the joints.
Increase your water intake: Nine out of ten athletes are dehydrated during practice and competition without knowing it. Dehydration is a MAJOR cause of injury. The average player should be drinking half their body weight in ounces throughout the day. This does not include physical activity. So for example: If a player weighs 100 lbs., they should be drinking 50 oz. of water per day. If they have practice or completion that number should increase.
At Olympia and Jevitz Chiropractic & Physical Therapy we specialize in treating athletes of all levels including professionals. Our goal is to keep your child on the field so they can reach their potential. As team doctors for TESC, we provide FREE injury screenings for all players and parents. All you have to do is call one of our Elmhurst locations to get scheduled within 24-36 hrs.