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6/21/12: Emerson Hospital Offers ACL Injury Prevention Summer Program in Westford for High School Athletes

Emerson Hospital’s Center for Sports Rehabilitation and Specialty Services is offering an APP (Awareness Prevention Proprioception) for ACL Injuries program for athletes 13 and older from July 10 through Aug. 16 at Jack Walsh Field, 100 Carlisle Road in Westford.

Each year, more than 200,000 high school athletes suffer an injury to their ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, one of the main knee ligaments that joins the upper leg bone with the lower leg bone. Female athletes have up to an eight times increased risk of tearing their ACL, compared to their male counterparts. Fortunately, research has shown that athletes who participate in a neuromuscular training program demonstrate a 50 percent to 70 percent decrease in ACL tears.

Without treatment, the sprained ACL results in instability of the knee with potential for damage to articular cartilage and tearing of the menisci. The long-term effects of ACL injuries can lead to early onset of osteoarthritis.

While an ACL injury often occurs during sports, Emerson Hospital orthopedic surgeon John Blute, MD said strengthening the quadriceps and hamstrings and training how to move when jumping, landing, and pivoting can not only improve athletic performance, but also significantly decrease the risk of an ACL injury. In fact, European and Major League Soccer teams routinely participate in neuromuscular training.

“Treatment to the injured area will vary, depending on the patient’s individual needs,” Dr. Blute said. “If you suspect damage to your ACL, the best thing to do is seek an immediate orthopedic evaluation.”

The APP for ACL Injuries program is designed to enhance athletic performance while decreasing risk. It includes pre- and post-video biomechanical analysis; balance and proprioceptive exercises; lower extremity dynamic stabilization and strengthening; plyometric and agility training; core stabilization; and flexibility training.

Classes will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 5 to 6 p.m. for girls and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for boys. The cost is $199, with payment due July 1. For a registration form, e-mail jgravel@emersonhosp.org or call the Center for Sports Rehabilitation and Specialty Services in Concord at (978) 287-8201 or in Westford at (978) 589-6850.

Emerson Hospital is a multi-site health system headquartered in Concord, Mass., with additional facilities in Sudbury, Groton, and Westford. The 179-bed hospital provides advanced medical services to more than 300,000 individuals in 25 towns. To learn more, visit www.emersonhospital.org.