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Are ACL Injuries Declining in the NFL?

Despite some high-profile players being sidelined this season, the National Football League is reporting a decline in injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament, one of the primary ligaments of the knee. ACL injuries are often considered the most severe knee injuries and usually end a player’s season. In a report to its Health and Safety Advisory Committee, the NFL has said that these types of injuries are down compared to recent years, a good thing for professional football players and fantasy team owners alike. However, in the same report, medial collateral ligament injuries saw no change from recent years.

Many people have speculated that new rule changes designed to reduce head injuries have resulted in an increase in knee injuries, as players are now forced to hit lower than they were before. However, the data do not seem to bear this out. As more information is gathered over the years, it will become easier to compare injury rates before and after the rule changes.

As specialists in sports orthopedics, we see injuries to the ligaments of the knee all the time. These injuries can be extremely difficult, even for people who aren’t professional athletes. They can end a professional football career, but they can also keep a lifelong recreational athlete from keeping an active lifestyle. Fortunately, there are numerous treatments for ACL and MCL injuries, and you don’t have to Adrian Peterson to get the most out of them.

Watching out for knee ligament strains and tears is important for people of all activity levels. In the first 13 weeks of the current NFL season, 32 percent of ACL injuries were not caused by player contact. That means that you don’t have to get hit by a linebacker to suffer this kind of injury. In fact, outside of football, more ACL strains and tears are the result of sudden changes in direction than physical contact. If you enjoy sports like football or soccer, where players frequently change direction over short distances, it’s important to train properly to minimize your risks. Exercises that emphasize power, agility, and flexibility can reduce your chances of begin sidelined by an ACL strain. Of course, if you do suffer an injury, we have a wide range of treatments to get you back on your feet.