While the NFL is cracking down on head injuries and the MLB continues to investigate performance-enhancing drugs, many are overlooking one of the biggest health issues in all of sports: the ACL tear.
Today, the sports world is up in arms about removing the one-and-done rule in the NBA following Kentucky freshmen Nerlens Noel's knee injury Tuesday night at Florida. But, as well all know, Noel is not the only big name to go down with an ACL injury in the past recent months.
Rajon Rando. Robert Griffin III. Derrick Rose. Adrian Peterson.
All of the above have torn their ACL ligaments in the last 14 months. In fact, there are hundreds of athletes through all of professional, collegiate and high school sports that suffer this gruesome three-letter injury annually.
Type in "ACL tear" into the ESPN.com search bar and you will see stories about 10 different professional and collegiate athletes who have suffered ACL tears on the first page alone. By the way, there are 21 total pages that come up with that search.
Thus, with so many athletes potentially losing their careers over this severely debilitating injury, is it time for the practicing members of sports medicine to begin looking at methods to prevent ACL tears?
Yes, shredding ligaments in one's knee is nothing compared to other the potential threats retired NFL players face as they age. However, when an ACL tear can potentially ruin an athlete's potential of getting drafted and making their first paycheck, it could cause some serious distress for young athletes' and their family's financial status. Noel, a top NBA prospect, will most likely not see his draft stock suffer too dramatically because of this injury, however lower-level prospects, whose families will depend on their earnings, could experience serious career-altering setbacks from suffering such an injury.
Now, with no medical experience whatsoever, it's hard for fans, like myself, to really understand if preventing this injury is actually possible. But, with multiple professional sports franchises and athletes having their respective futures put in jeopardy by ACL tears on a monthly basis, it seems time to at least start discussing the possibility of research ACL tear prevention.
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