Team ACL: The growing women’s soccer club that no player wants to join
In an interview with Andrew D. Pearle, MD, Chief of Sports Medicine at HSS, The Washington Post reports that female athletes are two to eight times as likely as male athletes to tear an ACL. Since 2021, at least 87 players from eight of the world’s top women’s soccer leagues have torn their ACLs. Some of the sport’s biggest stars will miss the World Cup because of this injury.
In women, the intercondylar notch, the area in the femur where the ACL sits, is narrower; additionally, women’s pelvises are wider, creating a higher angle between the hips and knees that can put greater stress on the quadriceps and the ACL. Female athletes tend to land flat-footed with knees inward on jumps and have more strength in the quads rather than the hamstrings. Those circumstances put female athletes at risk before even taking the field. In movement-heavy sports, a sudden change of direction or an improper landing could spell a tear.
“The quintessential ACL-busting cohort is in female soccer players,” said Dr. Pearle. “The numbers are really kind of tragic.”
Across soccer, pushes have been made to make injury prevention programs accessible. HSS developed an app called RIIP Reps that condenses essential exercises into seven-minute sessions.
Read the full article at washingtonpost.com.