THS Athletes Face Ligamentous Knee Injuries

Five students from Talawanda High School, two boys and three girls, have been subject to ligamentous knee injuries over the past four months, all of which required surgery.  There are many knee injuries that can be fixed with physical therapy, a brace alone, or simply time, yet our High School has had an alarming number of severe injuries.

With the injuries ranging anywhere from ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) to MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) to Meniscus tears, there are many variables at work.  A very preventative measure to such injuries is athlete training.  Soccer and Football players are particularly prone to such injuries.  Sports, like American football and soccer, both depend heavily on knees.  For soccer, the act of pivoting is unavoidable in any game or practice, which is why ligament tears in the knee make up nearly 25% of leg injuries for players (Russell).  In football, the pure physicality of the sport results in many injuries of which ligament tears are common.  

The knee is the largest joint in the human body. This, paired with its complex makeup of ligaments, cartilage, bone, and tendons, leaves room for a range of injuries all differing in severity.  The only recent (and reported) knee injuries at Talawanda though, have all been severe.  The common injury between the three female athletes was a completely torn ACL among other less extreme damages sustained while playing soccer.  For the two male athletes who play football, the injuries include tears to two menisci, an ACL and LCL.  Many studies have shown inconclusive results as to whether or not astroturf is “more dangerous” to play on than grass.

When it was first created, Astro turf was a very hard surface compared to grass fields.  Now however, with third or fourth generation astroturf fields, the surfaces are becoming more and more similar to grass to minimize any potential risks.  At THS we have a turf field that is only three years old and, despite being used constantly, is in very good condition.  The surface on which the injuries took place no doubt have a role in what happened to the athletes.  It is important though to explore the possibility of this not being the biggest factor of the injuries.  “So what is?”, you may ask.  The answer to that will hopefully be discovered over the next additions to this series, all attempting to crack the mystery behind these seemingly close related injuries.  

For more information on these injuries:

Feature Photo Credit:  Austin Hibbard