Basketball Players are Facing More ACL Injuries.
Much of the focus on sports injuries lately has been centered on football. Not only has the NFL been handling a massive concussion lawsuit, but it also has come under fire for failing to protect athletes from anterior cruciate ligament. However, The Associated Press recently reported that a memo released to the league’s health committee stated that ACL injuries among professional football players have decreased.
While ACL injuries may be down according to the NFL, reports are looking into whether or not professional and college basketball players are seeing a rise in the severe knee injury.
A rare occurrence
ACL injuries are common among football and soccer players, but are typically less frequent among basketball players, according to CBS Sports. However, there has been a small yet sudden uptick in ACL injuries reported among NBA players.
In 2012, NBA All-Star Derrick Rose tore his ACL – an incident that rattled the NBA community. The news source stated that research conducted by BasketballProspectus.com shows that Rose is the first All-Star to sustain an ACL injury since 1995. Meanwhile, research shows that the number of ACL injuries has been consistent over the past seven seasons, yet the number is higher than ever before. According to the news outlet, the average number of ACL injuries per season is approximately 4.5, with no fewer than three during a season.
A recent report from Oklahoma’s News on 6 also found that ACL injuries are becoming more common among both NBA and college basketball players. The news source noted that 10 NBA players tore their ACL in 2013, while numerous college players continue to damage the knee ligament.
Reasons for increase
As more NBA players are benched because of their damaged ACL, sports medicine physicians have begun looking into the possible causes. According to News on 6, it may be a result of playing on a hardwood floor.
“The players are getting bigger, stronger, faster. They’re trying to change direction,” sports medicine doctor Allen Lewis told the news outlet. “There’s a lot of force on the knee, and if he catches it just right, you’ve got an ACL that’s disrupted.”
Iman Shumpert, who sustained an ACL injury in the 2012 playoffs, told CBS Sports that new basketball techniques may also contribute to more knee injuries.
“It used to be people just ran straight lines in basketball,” Shumpert explained to the news source. “Now you’ve got all these crossovers, you’ve got Euro-steps … We’re putting different type of stress on our bodies.”
NBA writer Mark Montieth also suggested that more basketball players are prone to ACL injuries because of the rise in organized sports among kids. Many young athletes are now playing at competitive levels year-round without cross-training or conditioning in other sports, Montieth wrote for NBA.com.
To prevent ACL injuries, sports medicine specialists recommend that athletes perform the proper amount of conditioning both before and during the season. The American Council on Exercise states that athletes need to begin endurance training at least four weeks before the season begins. Cross-training in other sports or exercises, such as blending strength-training moves into a cardio workout, can also help prevent against ACL damage.