A Life Changing Injury: Tearing the ACL

Coach Jim carries Johannah Moz off the soccer field

By: Karli Stichter

About 250,000 to 300,000 athletes tear their ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) every year. 20,000 to 80,000 of those athletes are high school girls. After Title IX was passed in 1972 prohibiting discrimination between girls and boys, the amount of girls participating in sports increased greatly. Girls most commonly affected by the ACL injury play sports such as soccer, basketball, tennis, and volleyball, which require quick movements and cutting. There are various theories expressing possible reasons why ACL tears are more common in girls than in boys. According to momsteam.com, one theory suggests girls, “run and cut sharply in a more erect posture than men, and bend their knees less when landing from a jump”. These movements are unavoidable for girls putting them at a higher risk of tearing their ACL. As a result there have been various programmes encouraging proper stretching and warm-up routines for athletic girls.

    The ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligament plays a vital role in an athlete’s performance. The ligament running from the tibia (shin bone) to the back of the femur  (thigh bone) serves as a source of prevention from extreme knee rotation. Unfortunately, the ACL can be easily ruptured from fast- paced activities, awkwardly landing from a jump, quick changes in direction, or direct contact/collision.This devastating injury requires surgery 95% of time, followed by rigorous physical therapy and intense care which is highly suggested especially if the athlete desires to go back to their sport or activity. Senior, Johannah Moz just recently reached the ending point of her nine months in physical therapy. She tore her ACL in a high school league soccer game last January. “When I figured out that the painful pop I felt in the game was a result of a torn ACL I was devastated and cried because in the back of my head I knew I would not be able to finish the soccer season,” says Johannah. Johannah is excited to finally be back with her team and is more confident than ever for the 2014-2015 soccer season. When I asked her about how she felt about the scar on her knee she said, “It is a representation of the journey I went through to recover from this horrible injury.”

    As for girls that are at the beginning or in the middle of a long road to recovery, they have many challenges yet to face. Alondra Barrera, a freshman on the girls soccer team, just had her surgery in October. She returned to school a few weeks ago after spending many days in bed struggling to even walk. Unfortunately, she will not be able to participate in the 2014-2015 girls soccer season but plans to get back to the sport she loves as fast as possible.The same goes for freshman Grace Martin. She had her ACL surgery during the summer which unfortunately restricted her from any summer high school sports and from participating in the 2014 girls volleyball season. “I knew it once I hurt my knee and the only reason I cried was because I knew I tore it. My oldest sister went through the process of tearing her ACL twice and it was a struggle for my parents to keep up and I felt so bad for them,” says Grace.

    Tearing the Anterior Cruciate Ligament is unfortunately the most common knee injury for athletic girls. Girls spend nine months to a year recovering to return to the sports/activities they love. Through this trial they learn the importance of taking care of their bodies and protecting themselves from injuries. From them we learn how much motivation and perseverance it takes to recover from an injury as devastating as this. We also learn the importance of teaching our athletes how to prevent career ending injuries.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Hector Rivera says:

    I really enjoyed this article. Not because of what happened but because of how the facts were laid out and also because the athlete is making a comeback. Hope all goes well for the soccer player. Great article!

  2. Mychal Robinson says:

    Being an athlete, I can only imagine the agony you have to go through when you have to miss out on a sport you really love. Great article, Karli – I hope both you and your teammates have a great and healthy season!

  3. Maranda Idoni says:

    I absolutely loved the article because I too tore my ACL and in the process of rehab. When I had my surgery they gave me pain medicine but then realized that I have a high tolerance for pain which means the medicine didn’t work for me. I completely understand where those girls are at and it is so inspiring to see that they didn’t give up.

  4. Stephanie Mendoza says:

    This article is very informative especially since i do not play sports. I am unaware of all the accidents that may occur.

  5. America Sosa says:

    Not only can this article be based on physical injuries, but also on emotional and devastating outcomes. This article just helps me believe that loving what you do or something you are really passionate about doesn’t just stop there because of obstacles. It is all about pushing through. Loved this article! Also hope for the best for our THS soccer team!

  6. Mia Cuellar says:

    I really enjoyed this article because it gave so much detail and supported many facts. It was informative because I didn’t know that many athletes especially girls are more vulnerable to tearing their ACL. Good luck THS Girls soccer team.

  7. Michael Salgado says:

    This is a really informative article, but it must be horrible that they must go through this process of recovery, especially since they cannot play for nine months to a year. It must be a tragedy for that individual. I loved the article, Karli! Keep up the good work! I hope you and your team have a great season this year!

  8. Alan Felix says:

    good story but sucks for the girls who tear up their acl even when the pros tear up their acl you can see the emotion and sadness missing out on games

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