Date of Award

3-12-2019

Degree Name

MSEd in Physical Education

Department

Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education

Abstract

Research has shown that female athletes are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) than male athletes (Elliot, Goldberg, & Kuehl, 2010). Although female athletic opportunities have increased over the past few decades, this increased risk for ACL injuries may deter some individuals from participating in sport, especially those that involve quick movements where knee injuries are more prevalent (e.g., soccer, basketball). Thus, the purpose of this synthesis is to identify risk factors specific to female athletes that contribute to their increased ACL vulnerability. A search procedure utilizing SPORTDiscus, Academic Search Complete, and Physical Education Index was conducted to identify articles in the critical mass. Findings from the critical mass indicated that anatomical (e.g., ACL size, hip anatomy, femoral condyle size), biomechanical (e.g., hip muscles and hamstring and quadriceps ratio), and physiological (e.g., the menstrual cycle and estrogen) factors contribute to the higher probability of ACL injuries in female athletes. These findings can help determine effective and efficient prevention programs to limit these factors. A successful ACL prevention program for female athletes includes knee laxity assessments, stretching, strength training, and plyometric training. With continued research, definitive risk factors and prevention strategies can be identified so that female athletic participation continues to grow and result in longer athletic careers.

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