Last spring, US Lacrosse funded an ACL injury prevention program pilot study among scholastic lacrosse athletes. The study was based on the medical community’s understanding that ACL injury risk can be decreased with, among other things, improved core and hip strength through the use of specific exercises.

The study is being expanded to a larger sample size of teams in 2015, with the goal of collecting enough feedback to incorporate the regimen into the US Lacrosse Coaching Education Program.

Justin Cooper, a board-certified sports medicine physical therapist with MedStar National Rehabilitation Network, served as one of the study’s principal investigators. He notes that ACL injury prevention programs should have at least three critical elements:

1. A dynamic warm-up period

Research has shown that static stretching is not helpful. “Incorporating a dynamic warm-up in place of static stretching is critically important prior to the start of activity because having the wrong warm-up is even worse than doing no warm-up at all,” Cooper said. “Static stretching has not been shown to reduce injury risk and may in fact compromise muscle performance.”

2. A component of lower body and core strengthening

Six weeks is normally needed to build strength in these muscles.

3. Neuromuscular control

This can be developed through plyometric exercises utilizing proper landing mechanics.

Core strengthening and plyometric exercises can be done anytime, while the dynamic warm-up should immediately precede the start of activity. Cooper provided several examples of exercises from the program, and noted that a safe parameter, to start, is to do each exercise for 30 seconds.

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises

Sensory Overload?

Impact sensors. What are they and what do they do?

You may not be familiar with these products, but chances are that you are already seeing them attached to lacrosse helmets and eyewear. They are small devices that are designed to measure impact forces. Some models have light indicators that identify forces above a certain threshold.

But while some companies are marketing these devices as a diagnostic tool for concussions, their primary purpose is for head injury research.

Are these manufacturer claims valid? Is the technology sound? What should athletes, parents and coaches know? Do users have a false sense of security by using these products? US Lacrosse recently asked its medical and safety experts, members of the Sports Science and Safety Committee, to weigh in on these and other questions. Read the full FAQ story in our safety section.