It seems like in this 2013 NFL season, there’s an injury that is striking fear into players, coaches, fans and owners that “cut the check” and that injury is the torn anterior cruciate ligament. Located at the center of the knee joint, the ACL connects the tibia (shinbone) and femur (thigh bone), and when a player tears his, that’s the end of his season.
The ACL is one of the four main ligaments of the knee. Like all ligaments, it is a tough band of tissue that connects two bones in an effort to stabilize and coordinate motion at a joint. The anterior cruciate ligament specifically connects the bottom of the femur (thigh bone) to the top of the tibia (shin bone); this ligament keeps the two bones in place and helps the tibia resist internal rotation -or being twisted toward the body- while the leg is in movement.
Without an intact ACL, there’s no sprinting or cutting (changing directions) because that will cause the knee to collapse under a player’s own weight; even walking can become difficult. The knee feels unstable.
How can you tear the ACL? As stated above, the job of a ligament is to resist and control certain movements, but if an outside force is greater than the ligaments ability to resist one of those movements, there goes the ligament and you have a serious injury on your hands.
The first strange thing about this injury is that NFL players were dropping in training camp because of this tear…TRAINING CAMP!!!! The second strange aspect of this injury is the fact that it is taking out some pretty big names and putting pretty big holes in contenders’ lineups before they have taken even one snap in a preseason game.
Bryan Bulaga, OT – Packers
Jeremy Maclin, WR – Eagles
Denario Alexander, WR – Chargers
Arrelious Benn, WR – Eagles
Dan Koppen, C – Broncos
Chris Culiver, CB – 49ers
Melvin Ingram, OLB – Chargers
Jason Phillips, LB – Eagles
Armon Binns, WR – Dolphins
Jonas Mouton, LB – Chargers
Aaron Berry, CB – Jets
Victor Butler, OLB – Saints
Joe Morgan, WR – Saints
It seems like there’s a lot of wide receivers are on the M*A*S*H* unit list, that’s because that is the position that does a lot of cutting/changing directions, and when the foot is planted in the grass and the body is trying to change directions, in the case of the ACL, any motion or hit that forces the lower leg to sharply twist inward or move forward can cause an ACL rupture.
I believe players need to find ways to PREVENT this type of injury to happen, whether it is a certain type of stretching and/or strengthening of certain muscles around the ACL; this injury has been multiplying enormously in recent years in all sports and that is probably because the players are bigger, stronger and quicker than in the past. Let’s just hope that the medical field can work on prevention more than working on bringing players back to the field and court quicker after the injury.