Australia endures ‘epidemic’ of preventable ACL injuries

Apr 22, 2018 by

John Roumeliotis’ promising football career was almost over before it had begun.

At 18 years old, the Epworth teenager had already suffered three crippling injuries to his anterior cruciate ligament, commonly known as the ACL.

The third time, he hadn’t even returned to playing when he snapped his ACL jumping for a mark at training two days before he was due to step back on the field in his comeback game.

“I thought it was all over,” said the Calder Cannons player, who is still hopeful of playing in the AFL.

“I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I was devastated.”

These stories are not unusual. Every day on fields and courts across the country, sporting heartbreaks like this are being repeated.

New research has revealed Australia has the highest rates of ACL reconstructions in the world, and they are being reported in younger and younger athletes, some as young as seven or eight.

It is not yet clear what is causing the growing rates of ACL damage but leading knee surgeon Christopher Vertullo speculated it could be partly caused by a lack of “free play” in a generation of children often glued to electronic devices.

Early specialisation in individual sports could also be to blame, he suggested.

Associate Professor Vertullo, the director of Knee Research Australia, said that when he began practising about 16 years ago, he rarely had to treat patients aged under 15, or visit paediatric wards.

“Now every week I have to go there,” he said.

Source: Australia endures ‘epidemic’ of preventable ACL injuries

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.