ACL Injury Prevention Program
Whether you are looking to bounce back from injury or prevent one from happening, the ACL Injury Prevention Program can help you. The ACL Injury Prevention Program from UPMC Sports Performance helps athletes reduce the risk of non-contact ACL injuries while improving athletic performance. The program is open to:
- Athletes between the ages of 12 and 50 who are currently healthy and want to increase performance
- Athletes that have had ACL surgery and completed physical therapy
- Teams and groups looking to train and help prevent ACL injury
ACL Injury Prevention Program Focus Areas
Starting with an initial screening to help identify potential risks for injury and re-injury, the program focuses on:
- Lower extremity strength and power
- Core strength
- Landing techniques
- Overall balance
Studies show that following ACL reconstruction, athletes are 15 times more likely than the general population to have a second ACL injury. In fact, approximately 30 percent of athletes will re-injure their ACL within 24 months of their initial ACL surgery.
Additionally, female athletes are four times more likely to suffer a graft re-tear, and six times more likely to suffer an injury on the other side of the ACL than males. The ACL Injury Prevention Program seeks to help athletes reverse these trends by through an evidence model that improves strength and performance, and reduces the likelihood of re-injury.
Return to Sport
Studies show that within one year of ACL reconstruction surgery, only one-third of patients return to their previous level of competition. Less than 50 percent return to the same level of play within two to seven years, and only 81 percent will return to any level of athletic participation. This means many competitive and recreational athletes never get back to participating in their sport, or performing at the same level.
After an ACL injury, education on proper technique, muscle balance, and core strength are more important than ever. Participants in the ACL Injury Prevention Program will receive individualized, sport-specific training, which will allow them to safely return to their sport.
The program will serve as a 9-week course on how to improve athletic performance while working to prevent ACL injuries. Backed by evidence-based methods and techniques, the program will focus on strength, agility, and plyometric training. Some performance elements include:
- 40-yard dash
- Pro-agility run
- Vertical jump
- Hop distance
At the first session, participants are given a comprehensive screening, introduced to the concepts of dynamic warm-up, and will complete a workout. They are then re-screened in a fatigued state and the results are compared to their resting results. Participants will attend training sessions twice a week for the duration of the nine-week program.
At the end of weeks 3, 6, and 9, athletes will again be screened in a fatigued state, and their data will be compared to previous screenings. Program participants will be included in a research study that examines the incidence of ACL tears following completion of the program. Athletes will be contacted after the season of their primary sport and then again at one year after program completion.
The ACL Injury Prevention Program offers the following pricing options:
- For individuals and groups up to six people, cost per person is $15 each session ($300 total per person)
- For teams of seven or more athletes, cost per person is $10 each session ($200 total per person)
ACL Program Experts
- Rick Joreitz, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC
Team Physical Therapist, Pittsburgh Penguins®
Sr. Physical Therapist, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services
- Ron DeAngelo, ATC, LAT, CSCS
Director, UPMC Sports Performance Program