Girl Athletes Need Training to Protect Knees, Doctors Advise

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[Source: NBC News]

soccerMore kids are tearing up their knees playing sports, pediatricians said Monday, and they have some advice for parents: consider extra training for your young athletes.

There’s been a rise in diagnoses of a specific injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, a team of experts writes in the journal Pediatrics.

The increase is particularly dramatic in girls who play high school soccer, basketball, volleyball and in gymnasts, the American Academy of Pediatrics says. Girls suffer two to six times more ACL injuries than boys in similar sports, and are more likely to have surgery than boys, the group says.

But special training can help strengthen the muscles and help the student athlete develop habits that can prevent injury, the pediatricians found.

“Neuromuscular training programs strengthen lower extremity muscles, improve core stability, and teach athletes how to avoid unsafe knee positions,” said Dr. Cynthia LaBella of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, who led the team that wrote the report.

Girls are at higher risk of ACL injury because as they grow after puberty, they don’t gain much more muscle power, said Timothy Hewett, an expert in ACL injuries at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and a member of the team that wrote the report.

“After puberty, girls have a ‘machine motor mismatch,’” Hewett said. “In contrast, boys get 

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