An ACL tear is the injury every female athlete fears the most and according to this website , “ACL injuries are up to ten times more common in women than in men.” Just in the past week, two friends of mine have torn their ACL both for the second time. It’s devastating and heartbreaking to see it happen and to know that they have a long journey ahead before their body will return to it’s former strength. I have fortunately never torn mine but I have watched countless friends and teammates tear theirs. Some are able to recover and some never do. I had one friend tear one ACL twice and the other once and mentally just couldnt play sports again for fear that she might tear one of them again. Right now, we have three girls on the rugby team out with ACL tears. The recovery time spans from 6-9 months depending on the doctor and the type of surgery you get. Either way, it is a devastating and potentially career ending injury that can strip the skills and confidence from even the best players. The determination and pure will to recover is a feat in itself but then to play again takes an extra level of passion.
It’s amazing because I once played on a club team that really emphasized ACL prevention exercises yet within two years, 6 girls on the team had torn their ACL. I have so much respect for those who are still playing after ACL tears. But what concerns me is why more hasn’t been done for the prevention of ACL injuries. It will be interesting to see if someone can come up with a more effective strategy and uncover the mystery of the ACL tears in female athletes.
If you want to read about a real badass of female sports check out this article about Michelle Akers. I went to one of her soccer camps way back in the day after she had just had knee surgery for probably the 15th or 16th time. She would train with us then go ice it probably 4 or 5 times a day. It was amazing to see such an athlete and to just be around her. I have no clue how she managed to get back from that many surgeries but from reading about the kind of person she is if anyone could do it, it would be her.