SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse team has remained undefeated in their season thus far, but they have been impacted heavily by injuries. These aren’t injuries that are happening because of a dangerous play or even contact with another player, but because of landing wrong on turf fields.
The ACL is a ligament behind the knee that bonds the back part of the femur to the front part of the tibia. This ligament is in charge of a lot of the movement that happens with the knee joint and when it tears, it can take athletes out of their sport for numerous months.
ACL tears are prevalent in sport, but athletic trainers and players are seeing these types of injuries happening at a higher rate on turf fields where players plant their foot wrong and slip. Physical therapist at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists, Justine Zink, said that the way these athletes are moving is stretching the ACL.
A lot of ACL tears can be contact, but it can be non-contact as well. It really depends on the person’s anatomy, the mechanism of injury, but a lot of cutting, pivoting or even running in a straight line can cause that to happen,” said Zink.
The problem that is causing a lot of these ACLs to tear is the hyper extension and stretching of the ACL ligament. Athletic trainer at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, Kaitlyn Pertryszyn, said that she sees these injuries happening because of improper planting on a slippery field.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of that just planning and cutting and turning direction. Mostly it’s also environmental related, so it was cold. it was really raining that night as well, so it’s slippery,” said Petryszyn.
The turf fields also are slippery when they are not wet because of the lack of grip that the artificial grass and rubber pellets provide. This, paired with the improper planting and pivoting that athletes are doing, causes a hyper extension of the ACL and injures it.
Athletic trainers are taking action and trying to prevent these injuries in athletes. At Christian Brothers Academy, the preventative work allows trainers to strengthen the athletes muscles and teach them the proper way to move.
“During the off season we like to focus really on strength and landing mechanics, especially with soccer, basketball, football, any type of cut and pivot movement where we see ACLs happening more often on turf or on regular grass or hardwood floor,” said Petryszyn.
With these new preventative measures and exercises being implemented in high school, future college athletes may be able to have fewer injuries in the future.