News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

NOCHE

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Sports




Exploradio: Sports training can stem the epidemic of knee injuries in girls
Genes, anatomy and physics combine to make girls prone to knee injuries, but proper sports training can combat the epidemic
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
Even highly competitive female athletes are more prone to knee injuries than boys, both because of genes and physics. Sports training could reduce the risk of injury, but few programs offer it.
Courtesy of Jeff St.Clair
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Girls are up to 10 times more likely than boys to suffer knee injuries in sports like soccer and basketball.  Researchers in Akron have discovered that genetic differences help explain the disparity.

But in this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports that lack of proper sports training is also partly to blame.

Exploradio: ACL injuries in girls

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:16)


Double ACLs can't dampen passion for the game

Two teams of teenage girls scramble in a hard fought match in the sprawling soccer complex next to the expressway interchange near Lodi.

Fifteen year-old Bethany Jewell is from Salem and plays on the Keystone traveling team.

A sturdy metal brace grips her right knee as she runs down the field. 

She recalls a similar game about a year and a half ago when her knee gave out, "I just fell and I knew it had happened again.” 

Bethany knew the feeling because she had torn her other knee at the age of 12.  Her love of soccer keeps her in the game.

She says it’s not uncommon to see other girls sporting protective gear.  She says, at a big soccer tournament, "I will see a couple with the same brace as me.”

 

An epidemic of knee injuries in female athletes

Kerwyn Jones at Akron Children’s Hospital performed both of Jewell’s knee surgeries.  He rebuilt her right ACL, her anterior cruciate ligament, using one of her hamstring tendons.

Jones describes the technique of attaching the new tendon with a tiny metal clip, "and we call it a button because it’s just like a button on your shirt.”

As an orthopedic surgeon Jones says he sees a lot of knee injuries in young girls.

He says the majority of kids that come into his office with a variety of sports related knee injuries like ACL tears, knee cap dislocations, sprains of the ligaments - "it’s predominantly the girls that are coming into the office and not the boys.”

In fact girls playing soccer and basketball and other sports are two to 10 times more likely than boys to tear their ACL’s.

That got Jones wondering what differences in the ligaments themselves could be causing this disparity.

 

Testing the tissues for genetic differences

Dr. Jones saved samples of torn ligaments from 14 girls and boys who underwent ACL surgery, froze them, and sent them to William Landis, an expert in bones and cartilage at the University of Akron.

Landis says microarray analyses, tests that show what genes are most active in the ligament cells, revealed stark differences in the sexes.

The result, he says, “was a bit of a surprise.”

Landis says three genes that build and maintain ligaments are different for girls and boys.  And that makes the ACL's tissue structurally different which Landis says, "may provide a propensity to injury under the same types of stresses.”

The results are a concern for Dr. Jones in treating young athletes. He believes that it’s inherent in women that their ACL’s are structurally weaker, and additionally, that the way girls use their bodies in sports, "really predisposes them to tear their ACL.”

 

ACL tears in girls is multifactorial problem

Timothy Hewitt is head of the Sports Health and Performance Institute at Ohio State University.

He says without doubt the rash of knee injuries in female athletes is, "a multifactorial problem.”

In addition to genetics, other factors are anatomy and physics.

He says the way many girls stop and turn puts intense pressure on their knees.

Hewitt describes the hip and knee diving in toward the midline of the body as a girl lands. He says this happens with the knee relatively straight and, "most if not all of the weight is on a single, very flat foot."  The motion puts most of their weight on a single leg, and a lot of strain on the knee ligaments.

Hewitt says this is because girls are engaging different muscle groups than boys, mainly the quadriceps instead of the hamstring and glutes.

 

Training for girls, and their coaches is needed

But, while genes can’t be changed, Hewitt says girls can be trained to use their muscles more efficiently in better techniques for landing and turning.

And he says that’s the good news, "because those are the only factors that are actually modifiable... with training.”

Hewitt believes the epidemic of ACL tears in girls is preventable.  He’s seen training reduce the risk of injury by one-half to two-thirds, but it’s not being widely used.

Hewitt says training to prevent sports injuries in girls has been sadly underutilized.  He's passionate about reversing this deficit.  Hewitt says, "we have to get this out to the schools, to the athletic directors, to the coaches.”

Hewitt says training girls to prevent knee injuries also makes them better balanced, and better athletes.

The findings of the genetic underpinnings of ACL tears in girls was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Support for Exploradio
provided by:








Stories with Recent Comments

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University