Sports: ACL Tears Are One Of Football’s Most Common Injuries
by Kourt Williams
One of football’s most notorious injuries is a torn ACL, which stands for the anterior cruciate ligament. This injury will have any athletic player no matter the size, on the sidelines for an entire season, if not longer.
Just ten days ago, The University of Alabama head coach, Nick Saban confirmed, Dylan Moses, the team’s starting middle linebacker suffered a torn ACL two days prior to their first game of the season opener against Duke University. Also on two Saturdays ago, starting USC quarterback J.T Daniels suffered a torn ACL and is reportedly out for the remainder of the football season.
Nick Saban holds Alabama to a high standard, and even with the loss of Moses, he still believes his team has what it takes to play at a continued high level.
“It is also a character check for everybody on our team, to be able to keep the faith, to respond to adversity the way they need to, to accept the challenge, and rise above the challenge,” Saban said, according to NBC sports.
Historically, Saban has been able to keep his team encouraged despite hardship and with Moses out for the season, Alabama is planning on starting a true freshman, Shane Lee to fill Moses’s shoes.
USC head coach, Clay Helton felt nothing but disappointment to see his starting quarterback suffered an injury so great.
“It was a gut-wrenching feeling when Daniels went down. It’s just heartbreaking to see a kid who has poured so much into this team,” Helton said, according to the Associated Press.
A torn ACL has put many athletes in very difficult situations. Some are able to bounce back and be just as good, if not better than they were before the injury, and most never seem to get back to their true selves. This is because the injury is so severe that unless an athlete is able to get back to full recovery and able to get all strength back in that leg, there will always be a sense of hinder and caution when they play.
St. John Bosco High School football running back, Nathaniel Jones has also suffered a torn ACL in game one last season. Up to this point he has made a full recovery, however, there are question marks still in the air. One being he will he be able to be the same pound for pound running back he was prior to his injury. I have observed some of his recovery workouts, and we are hopeful as a team that he will continue to contribute to our offense and return as our starting running back.
“I’m stronger than I was before, when you tear your ACL, you learn new things. The doctors actually said I worked so hard during rehab that the leg I tore my ACL is stronger than my other leg. So I’m confident and ready to go,” Jones said.
Many doctors and physical therapists say the cause of an injury is an imbalance in strength in the hip, quads, and hamstrings. Which are the primary muscles supporting the knee. Since the knee is a joint that is only connected by muscles and tendons, this risk of injury is very high when those muscles are not as strong as they need to be.
St. John Bosco’s head athletic trainer Melody Mohebbi, who was Nathaniel Jones’s primary physical therapist, says that a torn ACL is one of the most common sports injuries, and is also one of the most severe.
“The reason why torn ACL’s happen to so many athletes so frequently is that players tend to overtrain and not get enough rest and recovery. The overall cause of the injury is all the muscles in the leg that supports the knee aren’t as strong as they need to be to support the athlete’s cuts and how they maneuver,” Mohebbi said.
Theresa Chaia, from the Hospital for Special Surgery, says having overall and fairly equal strength in the hip and legs prevent ACL injuries.
“Having adequate strength in your hips and thighs is key to providing support for your knees and preventing ACL injuries,” Chaia said.
A torn ACL is an athlete’s worst nightmare. If you are an athlete playing any sport, it is vital that you have the understanding that this is an injury you want to avoid at all costs. However, with a little extra work on improving those surrounding and supporting muscles for the knee, like the hip, quad and hamstring and exercising regularly like squats and lunges, cutting the chances of the injury happening to you is fairly slim.