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ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries are up to eight times more common in girls than boys. Sports that involve jumps or sudden changes in direction — soccer, basketball, volleyball, for example — take a real toll on girls’ knees. Girls also are at higher risk for nutrition-related problems. Parents and coaches of female athletes ages 11 to 18 are invited to a free workshop on November 1, to be led by sports medicine specialists at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. The workshop takes place in the hospital’s state-of-the-art Center for Sports Medicine.
Alfred Atanda Jr., MD, orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at the hospital, will discuss how ACL injuries occur and why girls are at higher risk than boys. Erin McLaughlin, certified athletic trainer at the Center, will share training and conditioning techniques to limit ACL injury risk.
“An ACL injury can take a young athlete out for months, and may even cause permanent damage,” Atanda says. “Many people don’t realize that neuromuscular training can improve knee stability and prevent injuries.” The Center for Sports Medicine also offers the Jump Start ACL Injury Prevention Clinic to teach young athletes exercises designed to protect knees and lower extremities from serious ligament injuries.
Female athletes also are at risk for health problems as a result of inadequate nutrition. Girls who don’t get enough calories can hurt their performance and suffer bone loss and other health problems. Gina Barusevicius, certified sports dietitian with the Center, will discuss proper nutrition for female athletes to enhance performance and minimize health risks.