In the April 30 article, “Injuries could’ve happened any time,” Dr. David Altchek states there is no evidence risk for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is related to a condensed National Basketball Association season and the subsequent noncontact injuries sustained by two players. He further argues that the female athlete is far more vulnerable to ACL injury and “there’s little explanation for how to prevent them.”
We respect the expertise of this surgeon, but there is strong evidence from rigorous scientific studies that fatigue ultimately plays a role in vulnerability and risk for injury in athletes involved in sports such as soccer, basketball, handball, and skiing. Biomechanical studies conclude that fatigue plays a major role in increasing ACL injuries. Furthermore, research on Division I soccer athletes shows overwhelming evidence that risk for this devastating injury is significantly reduced by prevention programs emphasizing neuromuscular control and plyometric skills.
This article places our local athletes at risk. We hope that current and future efforts will focus on the critical role prevention strategies play on minimizing the risks that undue fatigue and poor biomechanical control have on the athlete: risks that may well lead to a catastrophic injury, including ACL disruption.
Russell VanderWilde, M.D.