If you’re a parent, you are always looking for ways to improve the health and safety of your kids. This is especially true as they get older and sports become more than just a social gathering.
These days, sports specialization seems to be the norm. Most children participate in the same sport year-round, exposing their bodies to repetitive movements and thus increasing the likelihood of injury.
Approximately 70% of serious knee ligamet injuries occur during non-contact situations in sports. Furthermore, ACL injuries occur four to eight times more frequently in female athletes than in males. The good news is that many of these non-contact injuries are preventable. However, student athletes must be able to react immediately with control, coordination and muscle strength to avoid them.
To help decrease the number of serious knee ligament injuries, specifically in female student athletes, we are proud to offer the Sportsmetrics™ program. This program is under the direction of Frank Noyes, MD, a Mercy Health orthopedic surgeon who is also a world-renown knee surgeon and researcher. He works closely with a team of athletic trainers, physical therapists and researchers who helped develop this scientifically-proven program that has seen success for 25 years.
So, what exactly is Sportsmetrics™?
Parents in the Cincinnati, OH area can enroll their female student athletes in this six-week program which includes a pre-test, three training sessions per week and a post-test to measure the effects of the training.
To participate, athletes must have full, pain-free range of knee motion, no ankle or knee instability and no joint swelling.
The first sports injury test is performed before Sportsmetrics™ Training begins.
The test may include a video assessment of the hips, knees and ankles when landing from a drop-jump and a single-leg triple jump. Isokinetic testing is done to measure quadriceps and hamstring strength. Finally, measurement of vertical jumps, distance while hopping on each leg, running speed core strength and aerobic capacity are all noted too.
From there, training is conducted three days per week for six weeks. The training program includes the following components:
- Dynamic Warm-Up: prepares the body for activity with functional-based exercises that use sport specific motions. It raises core body temperature, increases blood flow to the muscles while improving flexibility, balance and coordination.
- Plyometric Training: focuses on correct jumping technique and is divided into three, two-week phases. Each phase has a different training focus and exercises. The goal is to develop muscle control and strength for reducing the risk of knee injury and to increase jump height. Depending on level of athleticism, resisted jumping may be included.
- Speed and Agility Training: emphasizes body alignment and form while performing sprinting and cutting movements. The goal of speed and agility training is to condition the body and increase skill level.
- Strength Training: emphasizes proper alignment and form while performing a structured strength-training program. The goal of strength training is to improve the overall muscle efficiency.
- Flexibility Training: includes stretching through a complete range of motion to decrease injury and post-training soreness.
After completing the Sportsmetrics™ program, a second sports injury test will be performed to measure the effect of training on strength, flexibility, coordination as well as jumping and landing techniques. A report of the sports injury tests will be given to each athlete upon completion of the program.
Sportmetrics ™ has trained over 4,000 athletes in the Cincinnati, OH area alone. Compared to athletes who do not complete this training, participants see on average a 50% decrease in instability at the knee, a 44% increase in their hamstring muscle power and a 75% decrease in abnormal limb symmetry. Overall, participants see an 88% reduction in risk after training.
All these benefits combine to help participants experience fewer injuries in sports. The Sportmetrics ™ Program is proud to have been recognized internationally and has overtime expanded its focus beyond ACL injury prevention. By providing education and research, the team hopes to optimize the overall health and wellness of female student athletes.
Learn more about the sports medicine and orthopedics services we offer at Mercy Health.