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Non-contact ACL tears are possible?!

Are you an athlete that plays a multi-directional sport? More than likely, the majority of answers will be yes. We know these sports including soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc. are known as “contact” sports. “Contact” means what exactly? Any type of physical contact between two players usually from defending the other player such as tackling or blocking a shot. Well, now, I am thinking that most injuries would occur due to hard impact from physical contact. To second this theory, during my high school soccer career, a player from the opposing team slide tackled me and unfortunately, I severely sprained my MCL (medial collateral ligament).

It is now clear on how athletes get injured from “contact” during these sports. How is it even possible to get injured as a result of non-contact (if that means no one physically injures you)??

Before you try to picture what this type of injury may look like, close your eyes for a second (no, seriously, close your eyes): Imagine Julia, a defensive soccer player, sprinting towards Ashley, the striker, hoping to stop her from scoring a goal. As Julia approaches Ashley, Ashley quickly dribbles past her and Julia has to stop midway through her sprint to turn around. She falls, crying in pain..Did Ashley touch Julia before she fell? No.. So what could have possibly happened!? Well, if we replay the scenario, we notice Julia placed her foot incorrectly and her knee gave out.

“You see, youth athletes in the 21st century are lacking practice in learning how to properly change direction, accelerate, and decelerate.”

These are all key aspects in any type of multi-directional sport. When we do not train athletes, especially female athletes, with drills that transfer over to game-like situations, their knees are less likely to be able to stabilize a quick movement such as a quick stop in Julia’s case earlier.

I used to believe that most injuries involved with “contact” sports were obviously resulting from vigorous physical contact. Makes sense right??? However, what most of us are not aware of is that the majority of some injuries are actually non-contact based. As a female soccer player, I will touch base on the increased risk of the most common injury, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears.

Let’s Talk About The ACL:

The ACL is one of the most important stabilizers located in the front of the knee. In my next few blogs, I will explain possible ways of reducing the risk and preventing ACL tears as well as how to recover from an ACL tear, specifically targeting the female athletic population.

Why am I targeting Females Specifically?

Research shows that female athletes are between 2 to 4 times more likely to tear their ACL than men.

Female athletes should be assessed on how they land after jumping, turn quickly (cut), and pivot, which will in turn provide us with specific movements that put them at a high-risk of an ACL tear. Simply addressing a few of these movements can help in preventing future injuries.

Your Performance Coach,

Iris Lopez



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