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feature Pictured: Manchester City’s Megan Campbell leaves the field with a knee injury on a stretcher during the UEFA Women’s Champions League match

A Critical Review of the Gender Differences in Male and Female Non-Contact Anterior Cruciate Ligament Risk Factors and Prevention in Soccer FEATURE/Andrew Wiseman Even though female soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, the literature within female soccer is limited (Andersson et al., 2010; Di Salvo et al., 2007; Krustrup et al., 2005; Mohr et al., 2008), while the mechanisms and risk factors for non-contact ACL injuries have mainly been studied in female soccer players (Alentorn-Geli et al., 2009).

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n comparison with the female player, the male soccer player possesses greater relative strength, power, speed and match specific components than their female counterparts (Turner et al., 2013). In turn, female soccer players are at a greater risk by up to six times of an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury compared to their male counterparts (Arendt and Dick, 1995) thus, female players continue to sustain ACL injuries at higher rates than men in the comparable sports of soccer, basketball, and lacrosse (Agel et al., 2016). Agel et al., (2005) noted that 0.33 ACL injuries per 1,000 hours occur within female soccer players, which is significantly higher than a male player’s data (0.11 per 1000 hours) and it has been theorized that

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males and females may have different mechanisms of ACL injury (Krosshaug et al., 2007; Quatman et al., 2009). Within the literature, women have consistently demonstrated to have significantly reduced neuromuscular control leading to greater knee valgus, combined with lower hamstring strength, which may in part explain this increase in ACL injury compared with men (Ford et al., 2003; Hewett and Myer., 2010; Hewett et al., 2005; Myer et al., 2009). While non-contact ACL injuries in soccer players are likely to have a multi- factorial etiology, the identification of these risks maybe a salient first step before designing and implementing training programs aimed to modify the identified risk factors and decrease ACL injury rates. (Alentorn-Geli et al., 2009).

Mechanically, ACL injury occurs when an excessive tension force is applied on the ACL, a non-contact ACL injury occurs when an individual themselves generates great forces or moments at the knee that apply excessive loading on the ACL (Yu and Garrett, 2007). The most common playing scenarios precluding a non-contact ACL injury include: change of direction or cutting manoeuvres combined with deceleration, landing from a jump in or near full knee extension, pivoting with knee near full extension and a planted foot (Boden et al., 2000; Fauno and Wulff Jakobsen, 2006). Griffin et al., (2006) suggested the following classification scheme to

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Football Medic & Scientist  

Issue 23 - Winter

Football Medic & Scientist  

Issue 23 - Winter

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