Okay, I know this headline is a little shocking, but that is the point. Now my rant isn’t necessarily based around the fact that I hate people, far from it. If that was what I came here to do, then I would not be talking sports. No, my rant is centered around us humans and the plague known as the ACL injury, trust me it will make sense down the line.
ACL injuries are the reason I am angry and rampaging today. They strike fear in all of us, not just the athletes, and they have the ability to ruin a career and break the hearts of millions. The worst part about all of this, much like Tommy John, is that the ACL injury is becoming a common injury among athletes. If you are a person who pays attention to the sports world, you would realize that nearly every day there is someone losing a season, or a job, to an ACL injury. If you do not pay attention to sports as closely, look above. Provided above is a very nice graph from 2012 showing how ACL injuries have been drastically increasing over the past 5 years, and that trend is still going up to this day. ACL injuries are not going away people, they are very much still around and happening more than they should be.
Issue One with Us Humans:
Now like I stated earlier, the reason I am angry is because ACL injuries are taking away our favorite athletes, and potentially ruining careers. However, what makes me even angrier is doctors, researchers, scientists, us humans. I have two issues with us humans, the first is more of a backhanded compliment so keep that in mind. The second is a real issue which infuriates me to no end, but I will get there. Okay, so issue number one with us people, we are too awesome. See a backhanded compliment! But honestly, ACL injuries are rooted, in my most humble of opinions, in us humans because we are too quick and explosive. I have read numerous reports on what professionals consider to be the cause of ACL injuries, and the conclusions I have drawn is that no one really knows. The only thing that people do agree on is that the ACL injury is very much a non-contact injury, and that it is linked to playing time (again beautiful graph above.) Playing time to me makes sense to a certain degree. Sure if you play more there is a higher chance of injury, however, the fact of the matter is this, sooner or later if you are an explosive, quick and an agile athlete, it will probably happen to you. I’m no doctor, nor do I pretend to be one, but if this is a non-contact injury, and this injury can happen to those who play a few minutes or a billion minutes then the issue rests with us. We, as humans, are becoming too quick, fast, and agile for our bodies to keep up and therefore the issue with the increase in ACL injuries rests with us. Therefore (again backhanded compliment), until our bodies are able to adapt and strengthen our ligaments, congrats human race, we are just too amazing for our own good.
Issue Two with Us Humans:
Okay, backhanded compliments aside, this is what really ticks me off, we just do not seem to care. Do you see those two graphs above that I have provided for your enjoyment? Those graphs took me hours to find and those were the only two graphs that had any relevance to my talking point. Not only that, but most of the articles and research I read on the injury comes from the year 2006, well before the spike in the injury! WHY!?! Why does no one seem to be taking this issue seriously? Sure, if a big athlete gets the injury it will get coverage and people will be upset, but this injury is happening all the time. Training camps and preseason for the NFL just opened up a little less than a month ago, and yet there has already been multiple ACL injuries to athletes, but all it gets is a quick sidenote and that’s it! When an athlete gets a concussion in today’s game, there are procedures in place and there is equipment being made to prevent those from happening. Why are we not taking those steps with ACL injuries, which can be nearly as devastating!?! Don’t believe me, just ask Dwayne Wade who is having issues now and most likely will have issues walking in the future because of an ACL injury in 2002. Tommy John is another injury that has spiked massively recently, but there is tons of research on that issue and there are people out there looking to prevent it (recently there was a compression sleeve created to prevent Tommy John), so why aren’t ACL injuries getting that kind of attention? Now I will give you that it took sports forever and a half to implement policies and take an interest in concussions, but why wasn’t that a learning lesson? Why is it that we seem to not care about these massive injuries until well down the line when the side effects are already taking place? Why not taking the steps now to try and prevent them from happening!?! That is really what upsets me about the massive spike in ACL injuries, not that they are happening (which does upset me by the way, just not as much), but that we aren’t doing anything to figure it out and prevent them.
Thanks for reading, and shout-out to Chris O. who introduced me to this concept on why ACL injuries are happening, and convincing me of it.
All stats and information courtesy of basketballprospectus.com, nbcsports.com and choa.org