Retrain the Brain
“Sportsmetrics was first studied more than 10 years ago,” explains Dr. Klosterman. “The pilot study showed a significantly decreased injury rate among girls who did the training versus those who did not.”
Girls are more at risk for several reasons, explains Bill Rose, a personal trainer and Sportsmetrics coordinator at Samaritan North. “Girls have a wider pelvis, which puts additional pressure on the ACL. Girls also tend to have smaller ACLs, and due to the effects of hormones, their joints are not as stable at certain points in the menstrual cycle. These facts of nature can’t be changed, but other risk factors can.
“Girls’ quadriceps muscles (front of thigh) tend to be stronger than their hamstring muscles (back of thigh)—an imbalance that can lead to an ACL tear. Girls tend to extend their legs and turn their knees inward when landing a jump. So we strengthen their hamstrings with weight conditioning and teach them how to jump and land in a more crouched position to protect the ACL.”
Over the six weeks, the drills become increasingly difficult, Rose says. “Constant repetition retrains the brain to signal the muscles to act quickly and in synch.”