Study Identifies Risk Of Injury For Student Athletes
by Jeff Tang
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A new study on student athletes may help pinpoint the risk of injury and can identify a solution.
Student athletes are training hard for fall sports, but a major injury like a torn knee ligament or shoulder problems could mean the end of a season or a career. And without proper training, kids are at serious risk for serious injuries every time they take the field.
Twenty student athletes are about to take part in a Baptist Sports Medicine study to find out if major knee injuries can be prevented by strengthening muscles in the core.
NewsChannel 5 followed two of them through the process. Logan and Sheridan may be normal teenage girls but they're serious when it comes to sports. Sheridan plays basketball and Logan plays soccer. But they're both vulnerable to serious knee injuries after tests showed reason for concern.
Experts said girls are especially at risk for catastrophic knee injuries like ACL tears. After a series of exercises identified the problems, the athletes will go through eight weeks of training specifically designed to fix them.
"Our hope at the end is these abnormalities improve, which results in decreased potential for injury and increased athletic performance," said study organizer Trent Nessler.
From Sheridan's basketball coach, who suffered an ACL tear as a player to Logan's soccer teammates who've had serious injuries-- the reminders are everywhere.
Kevin Robinson,a Belmont Professor and physical therapist with Baptist Sports Medicine, believes those injuries are far too common.
"We've been rehabbing kids for 20 years. We'd like to be on the prevention side now," said Robinson.
Robinson said new studies show that improved hip and core muscle strength can drastically reduce knee injuries.
Logan Plummer wasn't sure what to make of the study until the benefits showed up on the soccer pitch.
"I'm able to keep my balance more, and not get knocked off the ball as much," said Logan.
At the beginning of the study, Logan could barely keep her balance while jumping on one leg. After the training, the improvement is obvious.
"It's about an eight degree change, which might not sound like much but when you're talking about forces on the knee that's significant," said Robinson.
Robinson said the athletes also showed improved athletic performance in addition to having better stability.
Study organizers got what they hoped for-- improved performance and a decreased risk of injury as well as keeping student athletes on the field and playing better in the process.
Baptist Sports Medicine officials hope to expand the study to two local high schools. They eventually hope to create a low cost, effective exercise program that can be used by schools across the mid-state to help prevent major injuries.