Teen girls 6 times more likely to tear ACL than teen boys

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — School is just around the corner, and that means after-school sports will be back in full force. 

With these athletes taking time off for the summer, they can be prone to injuries like broken bones or even worse, tearing their ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament.

For 17-year-old Megan Johnson, playing softball and basketball was her life until she tore her ACL. 

"It felt like my knee popped out of place," said Johnson.

According to Children's Mercy, teenage girls are six times more likely to tear their ACL than teenage boys.

"There is a handful of risk factors that females have, but I think the biggest one is their body makeup. We know females fire their thigh muscles or quads before their hamstrings, which really puts them at a decreased advantage," said Dr. Brian Harvey, Primary Care Sports Medicine at Children's Mercy Hospital.

Doctors are calling it an epidemic.

"That allows their knee to really dive in and especially when we are planting, cutting, jumping," said Harvey.

The hospital started the ACL Injury Prevention Program in January 2017. They hope they can bring athletes back to the field in no time.

"I hope to get back soon, early. Not the whole 9-12 months. I want to be back at 6-7," said Johnson.

Doctors say prevention is key.

"Work on the way that they jump and land. Controlling their balance, controlling their core. Getting into an ACL prevention program and really work on those strength of those muscles to control those knees when they are active," said Harvey.

For a list of how you can prevent an ACL injury, click here.

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