Athletes & ACL Injuries: Risk & Prevention - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-08-26
Athletes & ACL Injuries: Risk & Prevention - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Medicine Sport Healthcare
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1302 words
11 min read


Injuries are a standard norm for athletes, and the most common injuries for the sportsmen, especially basketball is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. The ACL injury occurs at the knee since the body part is described as one of the most mobile and active joints during sporting, training, and fitness activities. Due to the extensive range of movements, especially for more extended periods, the ligaments and tendons of the knee are prone to injuries. The knee joint is made of bones, ligaments, cartilages, and tendons. The bones include the tibia, the femur, and the patella. Besides, there is the anterior cruciate ligament, which acts as the main ligament to connect the tibia to the femur. The ACL is the most injured ligament within the knee, and it mainly occurs to sportsmen such as basketball players (Dai, Mao, Garrett & Yu, 2014). As such, the paper is premised on the analysis of grade 2 ACL injuries from basketball players, some little insights about basketball, and analysis for treatment therapy in case of such injuries.

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The Basketball Sport

Basketball is a standard game, which involves two teams with players from opposing sides. The game was started back in 1891 by a physical education professor, who tried to keep his gym class active during rainy days. He sought for a vigorous game, and he came up with the basketball. However, since the invention rules have changed. To date, the game is played across all levels, including the international standards. It also involves a lot of training, and players of this game are prone to ACL injuries since the game includes a sudden change of directions, landing and jumping to pass the ball, stopping suddenly, and direct collision or contact, which are possible causes of the ACL injury.

Functional Anatomy of the Knee Joint

As identified, the knee joint is made up of bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. The bone structure is made of the femur, the tibia, and the patella. These parts are all hinged and joined together by the lateral collateral (LCL), medial collateral (MCL), anterior cruciate (ACL), and posterior cruciate (PCL). The ACL extends diagonally in the middle of the knee, and it plays a significant role in preventing the tibia from sliding to the front of the femur. Besides, the ACL also plays a critical role in providing rotational stability on the knee.

Other parts of the knee include cartilages, which play a useful role in covering the weight-bearing surface of the knee. Also, in between the cartilages on the other side of the joint, there is the meniscus, which acts as shock absorbers. The meniscus works with cartilages to reduce stresses between the tibia and femur. Of all these parts of the knee joint, the ACL is commonly injured. The chances of injury are higher to the person surviving in high-risk sports such as basketball, football, and skiing.

Partial ACL Tears

Approximately half of all ACL injuries happen with a combination of damage with other ligaments or even with the articular cartilage. When the ACL is torn, a lot of issues may be experienced in the way the knee functions. These injuries can either be partial or complete. If a basket player experiences a partial ACL tear, a decision has to be made on whether a surgery is necessary. The reconstruction of the ACL involves a lot of operative risks and significant rehabilitation as well. Making a decision on whether a reconstruction is essential is always a difficult decision to make, especially if it is partially torn. However, in case of a complete tear, surgery will be necessary to facilitate the treatment.

Once the ACL ligament or any other ligament is injured, the injury is described as a sprain. It usually occurs when players make a sudden change of direction when running. The strain can also happen when a player is landing a jump during training or sporting activity. These sprains are graded depending on the damage caused. Grade 1 is a minor stretching of the ligament. Grade 2 is a partial tear in which the ligament is stretched such that it is damaged or loose. Lastly, Grade 3 is a complete ACL tear, which makes the knee joint so unstable that surgery is inventible.

Causes and Symptoms of Partial ACL Tears

An ACL sprain is always sudden, and it is not the type of injury that gets worse gradually. Some of the common symptoms of the partial ACL tear include a sudden onset of the damage, severe pain, an audible pop within the knee, and swelling, which occurs after a few hours. Besides, in case of a partial tear, a basketball player cannot engage in any activity. Lastly, the other symptoms of ACL include the inability to straighten the affected leg and poor range of movement of the affected leg.

In most cases, these injuries occur during fitness or sporting activities that can put stress on the knee. Hence, it is worth noting that any form of stress on the knee can lead to ACL injuries. The stress on the knee can be caused deeds such as stopping suddenly, receiving a direct blow on the knee, landing awkwardly from a jump, and suddenly slowing or changing direction (Boden, Sheehan, Torg & Hewett, 2010). Finally, the risk factors of ACL injuries include poor conditioning, the use of poorly maintained equipment, and playing in artificial turf places.

Therapy of Grade 2 ACL Injuries

In case of any injury, the physician first assesses the extent of injury by evaluating the range by which the knee moves. The assessment is first carried out by comparing the affected knee with the other knee before making the diagnosis. Diagnosis tools such as X-rays and MRI scans may be used to check out for bone damage, as well as any ACL damages. After the diagnosis, the treatment provided depends on the extent of the tear since the tear may either be partial or complete. For grade 2 ACL injury, the knee has lost its functionality, and the treatment in such a case requires physical therapy.

For healthy basketball players, the doctors may recommend physical therapy as the form of treatment. However, surgery may also be recommended to ensure the injured players fully resume their activities. It was evident after the injury the knee may not be stable, and it will be painful with a limited range of motion. However, despite the pain, exercises with the help of a physical therapist are recommended to strengthen muscles such as hamstrings and quadriceps. These exercises help regain motion of the knee soon after the injury. Besides, with such exercises, the players will be prepared for a rehabilitation program or a surgery together with a rehabilitation program.

During the rehabilitation program, the exercises should start slowly, and gradually, the pace and the intensity of the exercises may increase. Some of the exercises carried out during physical therapy include quad sets, heel slides, and straight leg raises. As symptoms decrease, further exercises such as glute sets, mini-squats, prone hamstring curls, heel raise, and bridges may be added. Physical therapists during these exercises recommend that a player should not push up to points where they may feel pain. Lastly, doctors and physical therapists may frequently check to ensure the progress of the players. All in all, the physical therapy of ACL includes balance training, muscle strengthening, and treatments such as gentle electrical simulation applied to the quadriceps muscles.


Boden, B. P., Sheehan, F. T., Torg, J. S., & Hewett, T. E. (2010). Non-contact ACL injuries: mechanisms and risk factors. The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 18(9), 520.

Dai, B., Mao, D., Garrett, W. E., & Yu, B. (2014). Anterior cruciate ligament injuries in soccer: Loading mechanisms, risk factors, and prevention programs. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 3(4), 299-306.

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