On Thursday, February 16 members of the Manhattan Country School community gathered to learn about anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries and practice a series of exercises to help prevent this common injury. The workshop was given by a professional team of physical therapists from the Hospital for Special Surgery, led by AJ Pegno. The students were especially impressed to learn that our presenters have treated some of the famous athletes who have suffered ACL injuries.
We first learned about how common ACL injuries are (these injuries ended the sports seasons of more than 200,000 athletes in the United States in 2015), and about the prolonged impact that an ACL injury can have. Though professional athletes can often return to play at pre-injury levels within a year, without the support that these athletes have only 33 percent of amateur athletes can expect this outcome. It was clear to all of us that preventing this type of injury is vitally important.
There are two leg positions that lead to most ACL injuries: valgus (when your knees bend inwards) and hyperextension. We participated in a special series of exercises (Neurodynamic ReinforcementTM) meant to strengthen and stretch your muscles to help prevent ACL injury. The team was quick to point out when we were getting into positions that compromised our knees. It was sweaty but fun, and we all felt lucky to have been assessed and trained by such a professional team.