Preventing Serious Knee Injuries and Enhancing Performance In Athletes

Preventing Serious Knee Injuries and Enhancing Performance In Athletes
Tiina Garrison

For the 4th consecutive year, OSMS is hosting their world renown and nationally acclaimed Sportsmetrics ACL-injury prevention and athletic enhancement training program.  The Sportsmetrics summer program is one of OSMS’ community outreach programs and is philanthropic in nature. The OSMS doctors are not only interested in “fixing” athletes and others after they get hurt. Their philosophy includes trying to prevent as many injuries as possible from happening in the first place.

“It can happen to anyone. I was in one of the best shapes I’ve ever been in,” said Duke University All-American Monique Currie to USA Today, who tore her ACL when coming to a stop during a game. “No one touched me. It just happened.” For many coaches and sports medicine experts, this story sounds far too familiar. The athlete usually comes to an innocent looking stop, plant, twist, or landing and then comes a pop followed by an intense pain. Finally, after an examination, the athlete gets the dreaded news…an ACL-tear.

Anterior-cruciate-ligament, often referred to as the ACL, is one of four major ligaments of the knee. An ACL tear can also increase the possibility of re-injury and development of osteoarthritis in the injured knee. A serious injury in an athlete’s career will have a detrimental impact both physically and mentally; thus, if there is anything that one can do to minimize this risk, they should definitely look into it. 

Is there something one can do about  preventing serious knee injuries? The scientific evidence strongly suggests there actually is. About two out of three ACL-tears are “non-contact injuries”, and only 1 out of 3 is a “contact-injury.” Research shows that it is the “non-contact” ACL injury occurrences that could be minimized by specific training and programming designed for this purpose. Can we guarantee an athlete will not have an ACL-injury if they train by the Sportsmetrics method? Of course not, but you can definitely lower the risk. And that is always worth it, especially if the athlete’s sports performance parameters such as vertical jump height, speed, and agility could be improved as a “bonus”.

Preventing Serious Knee Injuries and Enhancing Performance In AthletesBy performing a specialized exercise program, known generally as neuromuscular training, the athlete’s balance, body/joint awareness, movement technique and muscle strength are enhanced resulting in optimized body mechanics, which has shown to help prevent injuries. Thus, ACL injury prevention has been an important focus of many researchers in the past decade. Key to successful prevention of ACL injuries requires trained personnel and more specifically, supervised training sessions by clinical trainers, who have been trained in recognizing inappropriate landing mechanics and other biomechanical factors that may cause injury in athletes. 

The Sportsmetrics program is only one of very few programs so far that has scientific merit in preventing serious knee injuries in athletes. Factors making Sportsmetrics training unique are not only the specialized exercises, but also the fact that a trained “pair of eyes” are analyzing every movement the athlete makes in order to identify any improper body mechanics that may increase the risk of injury. The athlete receives immediate and continuous feedback in order to correct improper body mechanics, and over a period of 6 weeks, they re-learn neuromuscular control of their body. Basically, the athlete is taught to “reprogram” their body to move correctly in a manner that decreases the risk of injury. The training effect occurs while consciously training the unconscious process of neuromuscular control.

The Sportsmetrics program has been featured on ESPN, New York Times, Good Morning America, USA Today, and various other media sources. It is being implemented in professional and collegiate teams across the country. The program exists in over 800 sites in 48 states and even internationally. Most of the athletes that have participated during previous summers have experienced increased athletic performance and athletes like Brahlaun Thompson, who recently received Brame Athletics 2010-2011 Most Outstanding 7th Grader Award (way to go B!), keep coming back year after year.  Other super talented athletes that have participated in the OSMS Sportsmetrics program include Winnfield’s Alonzo Moore, who has been named MVP in various sports, has too many awards to list, and is one of the best high-school athletes in the state (basketball, football and track). The “brag-list” goes on and on including the State Champion Winnfield Tigerettes Basketball Team (the whole team participated in Sportsmetrics), but unfortunately there is not enough room to brag about the achievements of these amazing athletes.

The OSMS clinic is offering the Sportsmetrics training this summer again. The 6-week Sportsmetrics Programming will start the in June. In order for the program to be effective, the trainer-to-athlete ratio is kept small, thus space is limited. You must register no later than June 15th. You may pick up registration materials from Jean Hall at OSMS or call her at (318) 229- 8773.  All participating athletes will be pre-tested on Sunday or Monday, June 19th and 20th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.  The cost of the program is $225/athlete with a $50 rebate for all those athletes who participate a minimum of 15 sessions and complete both pre- and post-testing.

Preventing Serious Knee Injuries and Enhancing Performance In AthletesDon’t be left on the sideline! Train with Sportsmetrics to reduce your risk of injury and enhance competitive athletic performance!  Call today!