Scholarship of Discovery
BACKGROUND: Noncontact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are highly prevalent in soccer as quick changes in direction, stop-start motions, as well as jumping and landing often paired with shooting or passing a ball are occurring continuously throughout a practice or match. Exaggeration of these movements with extreme joint motions increases the likelihood of ACL injury. An ACL injury can be detrimental to an athlete’s career as 25% of athletes do not return to their pre-injury level of play (Padua, DiStefano, Beutler, de la Motte, DiStefano, & Marshall, 2015). Myer, Ford, McLean, & Hewitt (2006), Garcia (2011), and Pollard, Sigward, Ota, Langford, & Powers (2006) have all conducted research showing programs consisting of a combination of plyometric, balance, and strengthening exercises constitute effective prevention of ACL injury.
METHODS: This study tests a new, unestablished ACL injury prevention program designed using elements of previous successful programs, increasing in difficulty as the weeks progressed. Three soccer players participated in the program three days a week for four weeks. The Modified Lower Extremity Scoring System (LESS) was used to determine the risk of ACL injury of each participant. Participants were members of a varsity women’s soccer team at a small Christian university in the Midwest. None of the participants had sustained any knee injury prior to participation. The control group consisted of five participants, while the experimental group consisted of three participants. Both groups performed vertical drop tests as their landings were evaluated with the Modified LESS prior to implementation of the prevention program on the experimental group. After the program concluded, each group was retested. We hypothesized that after participation in the progressive four-week ACL prevention program, the experimental group would display a decrease in their Modified LESS scores, thus indicating a decrease in the possibility of noncontact ACL injury, whereas the control group would see little to no differentiation of scores.
RESULTS: The hypothesis that a four-week progressive ACL injury prevention program would lower ACL injury risk factors on the Modified LESS was confirmed. A similar decreasing trend was observed in five of the ten categories on the Modified LESS of the experimental group.
CONCLUSION: The decrease of the Modified LESS scores occurred in the same five of the ten categories. This could be due to the auditory cues that were given while the participations were performing. The results found in the study correlated with other research.
Marcordes, Tess, "Noncontact Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Collegiate Female Soccer Players: The Effects of a 4-Week Prevention Program on Landing Kinematics" (2018). Honors Program Projects. 87.