Public Release: 

Basketball, soccer, lacrosse lead to most ACL injuries among high school female athletes

New study breaks down rate of injury to major knee ligament per season by gender and sport

American Academy of Pediatrics

WASHINGTON, DC - A new study finds the overall rate of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries among high school athletes is significantly higher among females, who are especially likely to experience ACL tears while playing basketball, soccer and lacrosse.

The study, "Sport-Specific Yearly Risk and Incidence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears in High School Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis," will be presented at the 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics Conference & Exhibition in Washington, DC.

Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found significant risk of ACL injury among both genders, particularly in high-risk sports such as soccer, football, basketball and lacrosse. While the majority of ACL injuries occur in boys, the rate of injury per exposure is higher in girls. Specifically, in girls, the highest ACL injury risks per season were observed in soccer (1.1 percent), basketball (0.9 percent), and lacrosse (0.5 percent). In comparison, the highest risks per season for boys were observed in football (0.8 percent), lacrosse (0.4 percent), and soccer (0.3 percent).

"It has been well established that the risk for ACL tear per athletic exposure is higher in female athletes compared to males," said lead author Alex L. Gornitzky, a fourth-year medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "As participation rates in high school athletics continues to rise significantly, it has become increasingly important to establish up-to-date, individualized injury information for high school athletes and their families, who represent a large proportion of patients visiting pediatric orthopaedic and sports medicine clinics."

Knowledge of such sport-specific, seasonal risk is essential for evidenced-based parent-athlete decision-making, accurate physician counseling, and targeted injury-reduction programs for the most at-risk sports, said Mr. Gornitzky, who will present the abstract, "Sport-Specific Yearly Risk and Incidence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears in High School Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis" at 10:53 am on Saturday, Oct. 24 in Saturday, October 24, 2015: 9:50 AM in room 143A of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. To view the abstract, visit https://aap.confex.com/aap/2015/webprogrampreliminary/Paper31541.html. Please note: only the abstract is being presented at the meeting. In some cases, the researcher may have more data available to share with media, or may be preparing a longer article for submission to a journal. Contact the researcher for more information.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit http://www.aap.org.

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