Professor April Kamba
Scholarship of Discovery
Background: A common injury for athletes is a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament, with a disproportionally higher rate of injury among female athletes rather than male athletes due to many anatomical and physiological differences. One of the proposed causes of increased injury is the difference in hormone levels during the phases of the menstrual cycle. While ACL injury prevention programs have been used to help reduce the number of injuries among athletes, it is not yet well known if changing hormone levels throughout the menstrual cycle is predictive of ACL injury risk among athletes that engage in injury prevention programs and those that do not. Here, we use the Lower Extremity Scoring System (LESS) as a way to evaluate an athlete’s risk of sustaining an ACL injury for athletes that have and have not participated in ACL injury prevention and correlate those scores with phases of the menstrual cycle.
Methods: 122 female collegiate athletes were tested using the LESS model and a questionnaire on the injury prevention and menstrual cycle history of the athlete. The average LESS scores were compared in order to determine significant differences between athletes who had participated in injury prevention, and those who had not, as well as athletes in different phases of the menstrual cycle.
Results: One out of the eight teams had been actively participating in ACL injury prevention and had the lowest average LESS score of 5.43. The menstrual phases all had similar averages of LESS scores ranging from 7-8.
Conclusion: The results of the study concluded ACL injury prevention had lowered the risk of an ACL injury among female collegiate athletes However, fewer athletes were participating in ACL injury prevention than expected. The hypothesis for the menstrual cycle was rejected due to the follicular phase having the lowest average LESS score.
Bardwell, Natalie, "AC INJURY PREVENTION PARTICIPATION AMONGST COLLEGIATE FEMALE ATHLETES" (2021). Honors Program Projects. 129.
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