Study finds ACL injuries in prep athletes don't have a gender bias

A new study, "A MultiSport Epidemiologic Comparison of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in High School Athletics," has found no significant gender differences in injuries to boys and girls. The study is in the November-December Journal of Athletic Training.

“ACL injuries are traditionally regarded as a female athlete issue, yet this study found no significant gender difference in injury rates when all nine sports were considered,” says Dawn Comstock, an associate professor at the Colorado School of Public Health and an author of the study. “The key message here is that targeted injury prevention programs should be focused on athletes participating in sports with the highest risk of ACL injury.

"For example, we found boys playing football were four times as likely to sustain ACL injury as boys playing other sports. Similarly, girls were four times as likely to sustain an injury in soccer and basketball compared to volleyball and softball.”

More than 7 million students participate in high school sports, and anterior cruciate ligament injuries account for 50% or more of knee injuries.

The National Athletic Trainers' Assn. reported 124,626 ACL injuries in boys and 91,002 in girls during the study period of the 2007-08 to 2011-12 school years in nine sports.

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