Doctors: More young athletes suffering serious knee injuries these days
Youth sports are in a whole new ball game. Orthopedic surgeons say they are seeing more and more ACL injuries in the knees of young athletes, especially girls.
Cheyanne Hanger is one of them. The 17-year-old from Westminster was playing volleyball 18 months ago when she landed wrong, tore her left ACL and needed surgery.
Then just three days after she was cleared by doctors, she tried out for the soccer team, and tore her right ACL. “I planted wrong and I heard it snap,” Hanger said.
Dr. John Polousky, an orthopedic surgeon at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, performed the surgery.
He says young athletes are more competitive at earlier ages and that puts them at more risk. He says more and more of them are needing ACL surgery, some as young as eight years old.
Hanger’s physical therapist, Mike DoVico, says there are a few reasons for that.
First kids are specializing in one sport early on. “There is absolutely no cross-training,” DoVico said. “They are not developing the core stability that other sports would give them,” he said.
Plus many kids get more screen time with video games than physical play time outside. DoVico suggests letting kids play on the playground and having them play several recreational sports.
The Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children has developed a program to help train teen athletes and schools how to avoid ACL injuries.
Trainers go into the schools and teach the kids and coaches techniques they can use to strengthen their bodies.
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