What You Can Do About Youth Football Injuries on the Rise

Many youth are involved in football these days from your local Pop Warner league to middle school and high school leagues. Kids are playing in flag football and tackle football games and injuries are on the rise. These injuries range from concussions to overuse injuries to trauma. The statistics on youth injuries is alarming. In fact, injuries like concussions are causing some high schools to cut programs and players to stop playing.

Despite injuries, there is still going to be high involvement in football. Football is the core of many high school athletics. Young kids are brought up and trained through their local football leagues to play in high school, college and the hopes of playing in the NFL. This makes it increasingly important to educate athletes, coaches and parents about the possible injuries associated with playing football and how injuries can be prevented and what you can do if you are injured.

We’ve put together this handy guide for anyone involved in football – at any level – to be able to learn and take action to protect themselves and prevent injuries.

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ACL Reconstruction Surgery: 2 Years Post-Op

Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She shares her experience with us as she explores the world of sports.

It’s been nearly two years since my ACL surgery and I thought it would be helpful for anyone considering ACL repair or who is currently recovering from ACL surgery to share my progress. Well, what I’ve learned is that ACL recovery varies greatly from person to person. From my own experience and opinion, it depends on two factors: your body and your effort.

Honestly, I haven’t done too much in terms of getting back into sports since my ACL reconstruction surgery. Real life took over – work and parenting – so I didn’t have as much time to devote to recreational sports. Ideally I think I would continue strengthening the muscle area around my knee before returning to sports to help stabilize the joint. I’d also feel more comfortable returning to sports with an ACL knee brace. It would help give me peace of mind that I’m lowering my risk of re-injury and it would provide support to my knee.

Could I start playing basketball and football again? Yes, I think so with some training. Overall I’ve healed up nicely – I’d say that my body rebounded well, but I haven’t put any effort into getting back into physical activity. That’s probably the only thing that slowed my progress.

Here’s some situations from my friends who have had ACL surgery:

  • Man in his early 20s – He put lots of effort into his ACL recovery in order to return to playing sports. He now wears an ACL knee brace and was back to playing sports within his first year. In fact, he started light running again around four months post-op… I’m not sure his doctor would have liked that!
  • Woman around my age in her late 20s – She tore her ACL around the same time I did, and she’s started working out consistently and is fairly active. Her recovery was slower… I think my body rebounded more quickly, but that she put more effort into physical therapy.
  • Woman in her early 40s – I actually met her in my basketball league and knew she had tore it at some point because she was wearing an ACL knee brace. She had some amazing movement at point guard. I wouldn’t have guessed her age based on how she was moving. I found out later it had only been a few years since her tear… and she actually tore hers playing flag football in the same recreational league that I participated in!

So as you can see, ACL tear recovery can have a wide spectrum of results. I think for most people, if you put the effort toward physical therapy and returning to sports, that you’ll be back before you know it! Follow your doctors’ guidelines and you’ll be just fine.

ACL Reconstruction Surgery: 10 Months Post-Op

Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She shares her experience with us as she explores the world of sports.

Wow, it’s hard to believe that we’re creeping up on the one year mark of my ACL reconstruction surgery.  For the last few months I’ve been trying to battle the last part recovery – rebuilding and developing my quad muscles back to where they were before surgery.

When I look at my legs side by side, it’s almost disappointing to see how strong my right leg looks compared to my left. I still have trouble going down stairs… my left leg starts to tremble a bit as it bears the full weight of my body.  The worst of it is that sometimes my left knee “clicks”, because the kneecap isn’t moving the right way because of the muscle atrophy.

Luckily, places like BetterBraces.com offer products such as patella tracking braces that help my knee joint move properly as I continue my rehabilitation. They help lift my patella back into proper position as I move my knee and perform the key exercises I need to re-strengthen my knee.  I’m excited to really push my conditioning these next couple of months so I can get back to playing basketball with my women’s league! The confidence that the knee brace gives me definitely helps me move forward with my exercise.

If you’ve injured your ACL or are recovering from ACL surgery, check out patella stabilizers and ACL knee braces today.

Uncommon Causes of ACL Tears

Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She shares her experience with us as she explores the world of sports.

After my ACL tear I’ve heard lots of interesting stories from people about how they tore their ACL.  I think most people know that ACL tears are common during sports, especially ones that involve running such as basketball and football.  But sports with running aren’t the only causes of ACL tears.  Check out these other strange ways that I’ve heard of recently:

Rock Climbing – One of my father’s friends tore his ACL during indoor rock climbing.  He apparently slipped off one of the climbing nodes and may have just pivoted his leg incorrectly, moving his knee past its natural range of motion. He had to have ACL reconstruction surgery!

Skydiving – One of my close friends is a skydiving instructor.  Landing can take a toll on the knees.  The impact when landing can cause ACL injuries, as well as other long term injuries to the knee.  That’s why it’s important to land correctly and to strengthen the muscles around the knee to minimize impact.

During a Sudden Stop – Have you ever been rushing to get somewhere, then suddenly stopped because you realized you forgot something?  Sometimes if the factors are just right, even this can cause ACL tears.  It’s the same sort of motion that makes basketball players so susceptible to ligament injuries – changes in speed and direction especially for knees with weaker surrounding muscles may cause injury to ligaments.

River Rafting – This is the strangest story I’ve ever heard regarding ACL injuries.  My coworker’s wife tore her ACL while rafting (it wasn’t even whitewater rafting!) because another lady in their raft fell onto her knee.  The weight of the other woman on the knee caused his wife’s ACL to tear, along with her meniscus.

As you can see, ACL injuries can occur just about anywhere.  However, it’s important to keep doing the things we love… even if it means a little extra protection.  If you’re looking for knee brace protection, check out ACL knee braces today!

ACL Injuries More Common Than We Think

Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She shares her experience with us as she explores the world of sports.

I’ve been aware of ACL injuries for a long time, especially after playing high school basketball. Even though several of the girls on my team were taken out of the game for an entire season, I never experienced an ACL injury myself. I guess I thought ACL injuries happened to “weaker” people or individuals with bad bones. Little did I know that it has very little to do with that, and that 10 years in the future that I would experience my own ACL tear.

It’s taken a lot to help me realize how common ACL injuries are. Just a few months before I got hurt, one of the girls on my flag football team went down during practice. She simply took a sharp turn and tore her ACL from the movement. No contact with anyone. When I tore mine, I had a whole long list of “mentors” – ladies who had previously hurt their ACLs and gone through surgery. Wow! I had no idea so many people got hurt. I thought flag football was a low-injury sport.

Those aren’t the only cases of ACL tears I’ve heard of recently. Just last week I went to the eye doctor for a checkup. As it turns out, my optometrist had an ACL injury around the time that I did, and during the same sport – flag football.  For some reason that really stuck with me… and now I truly understand how common ACL tears are.