Anyone who has spent much time in the cheering section at youth sports events for girls ages 12 to 16 has likely noticed one or more female athletes, sidelined by a knee injury, leaning on crutches and wistfully watching their teammates and competitors on the field of play.
Growing numbers of sports training and medical professionals are viewing the preponderance of female anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries as more than just a coincidence but rather as a concerning epidemic. One national sports performance training company is stepping up to raise awareness, and offer female-athlete-focused education and training solutions to combat the problem.
Today Charlie Graves, CEO of Athletic Republic, the industry leader in performance sports training with 120 training centers around the world, announced the company's new "Keeping Girls in the Game" Campaign to raise awareness among young female athletes, their parents and coaches, of the facts behind the on-going rash of ACL injuries among young female athletes, and to offer training solutions developed and tested over Athletic Republic's 27-year history which can reduce the likelihood of a non-contact ACL injury in female athletes by up to 72 percent.
Said Graves, "We want to spread the word far and wide to young female athletes, parents and coaches not only that this is a real statistically-proven problem, but also that it is a preventable problem through injury risk reduction education and training protocols, and through a growing number of programs like our "Stability Training for Female Athletes" which we offer at our training centers. Often these injured female athletes are sidelined for months, disrupting their scholastic education and social circles, sometimes never returning to their sport, and impacting long-term, perhaps life-long fitness and health. With 120 training centers that have worked with over 1 million athletes, we have both the voice and the science-based, proprietary technology and protocols to help. Female athletes are just as important to us as male athletes, and we are committed to use our clout to positively impact this issue."
What are the factors contributing to this discrepancy between male and female injury rates? They include structural and anatomical differences, hormonal variances, and skill/training gaps. "Boys have historically started training at a younger age which facilitates earlier development of footwork, hand-eye coordination, and catching and throwing skills, all of which develop the neuromuscular system," said Dr. Jim Walker, Sport Science Director for Intermountan Healthcare's The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) in Salt Lake City, which like many advanced orthopedic hospitals across the country, incorporates an Athletic Republic Training Center within their facility. "Girls often miss this early exposure to motor learning, and coupled with some of the other differences, this puts them at a distinct disadvantage and subsequently more injury prone when they become involved in High School sports."
Athletic Republic's "Keeping Girls in the Game Campaign" includes national and local media and influencer outreach to build awareness around the issue and free local education events and protocol demonstrations at their training centers across the country to spread awareness. Participating Athletic Republic training centers will offer complimentary "Take-Home Stability Kits" for all female student athletes who enroll in their signature Acceleration Program through 11/31/17 ($55 value). For athletes not living near an Athletic Republic location, expanded "Female Stability Training Kits" are available for $149through the company's website, or Team Packs of 10 kits for $1,290. Said Graves, "Awareness of the need for quality Stability Training for young female athletes is the key. We are a brand built out of a firm belief that there is a better way to train athletes and a better way to reach peak athletic performance. Part of that is making sure both our male and female athletes are staying healthy and that's been a priority of ours for over 27 years."