Camp ACL

April 16, 2018

 

Today’s high school athletes spend countless summer hours in camps and clinics trying to improve their sport-specific skills. But all that work will mean little if they are sidelined by an ACL tear. That’s the reasoning behind the Sportsmetrics summer camps that are gaining popularity nationwide.

Sportsmetrics is an evidence-based ACL injury prevention program developed by Dr. Frank Noyes, Chair and Medical Director of the Cincinnati SportsMedicine and Orthopaedic Center. It can be implemented at any time of the year, but presenting it in a summer camp format has proven to be particularly effective.

“The athletes don’t have the demands of their playing schedule and school work in the summer,” says Emily Pearson, Athletic Trainer at Calvin Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Mich., and a camp host. “That provides a nice window for a lot of exercises and drills that we just don’t have time for during the rest of the year.”

The camp Pearson has led for the past three summers meets at her school two hours a day, three days a week, over six weeks through July and August—a total of 18 sessions. “We mostly focus on jump training, which includes a lot of work on proper take-off and landing techniques,” she explains. “We also do strength training and speed and agility drills with an emphasis on deceleration techniques—because a lot of ACL injuries involve deceleration. And we add in flexibility and balance training to give athletes a well-rounded workout.”

Pearson also takes time to educate the athletes. “We spend 15 minutes a day discussing a sports medicine topic, such as how ACL injuries occur, nutrition, overuse injuries, and so on,” she says.

Although the program is largely designed to address the increased risk female athletes face for noncontact ACL injuries, Pearson says the camp benefits both genders, and she has had five boys attend over the years. Most of all, she is pleased that none of the athletes who have participated in the program have suffered serious knee injuries.

 

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