Participating in sport is part of our DNA as New Zealander’s, unfortunately winter sports bring with them an increased risk for both the professional athlete, and weekend warrior’s worst nightmare, the ACL rupture.
What’s the ACL? It stands for ‘Anterior Cruciate Ligament’ and connects your thighbone to your shinbone and helps keep your knee stable. Injuring it is not good.
The increased risk of injury is primarily due to the contact, pivoting, and twisting involved in sports such as rugby, football, and netball. More recently there has been a 120% increase in these injuries in 15-19 year olds and interestingly females are 4-5x more likely to injure their ACL when compared with males.
An ACL injury is a big deal, it will keep you out of sport for the best part of a year. If you work a manual job, it could be 3-6 months before you are ready to return to your pre injury level and start work. So for this reason alone it is worth thinking about.
Who’s had an ACL Injury? Many elite athletes you’d know have torn their ACL, Damien McKenzie missed the 2019 Rugby World Cup, more recently Jack Goodhue tore his and will miss the remainder of this rugby season, and Silver Fern Bailey Mes has just returned after a year out of netball.
The good news is, there are things that you can do to help reduce your risk.
Research suggests that 50-80% of ACL injuries are preventable through agility and neuromuscular training ideally for 20 minutes, 3 times a week. Basically, warm up well. ACC have done some great work in this space and developed the Sportsmart programmes that provide injury prevention plans for a variety of sports (Netball and Football have their own specific resources).
If you are resuming oval or round ball sport, or planning a getaway to the snow to do some skiing, make sure you have a plan to minimise your risk of what can be a life changing injury. Prepare well and warm up correctly before getting into it.
We love nothing more than helping people do what they enjoy without needing to have their lives disrupted by periods of rehab, so if you need some guidance on what might work for you, make a time to see one of the team to keep you in the game…