Thursday February 22, 1996

ACL tears a hazard for women soccer players

Women soccer players are four times more likely to suffer from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears than their male counterparts. A study of 2,958 intercollegiate soccer players (1,565 male and 1,393 female) who were followed during the 1993 and 1994 seasons is presented Thursday in poster exhibit A 66.

Forty-five ACL tears were reported-36 female (2.58 percent) and 10 male (0.64 percent)-in the 30 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 schools that participated in the study. All of the schools had both men's and women's soccer teams on their campuses.

Twenty-four of the females and seven of the males did not receive their ACL tear because of contact. Twenty-three of the women were injured during a game and five of the men were injured during practice.

Confirmation of the ACL tears were made by MRI examination in 31 of the women and eight of the men. Surgical reconstruction was performed on 34 of the females and eight of the males.

Information regarding the incidence of the ACL tears, associated conditions, and team rosters were gathered from trainers through a questionnaire and by telephone.

According to James R. Slauterbeck, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedics at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, women appear to be at an increased risk for tearing their ACL, and risk factors may include training, strength, endurance, and hormonal differences that need to be further defined.

Co-authors of the study with Dr. Slauterbeck, all from the University of California Medical Center in Los Angeles, are Gerald A. M. Finerman, MD, professor of orthopaedics; Stephen H. Liu, MD, and Matthew Shapiro, MD, assistant professors of orthopaedics; and Jason Knight, a student athletic trainer.

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