Sport Medicine program for young athletes with ACL injuries

Published: Jan. 25, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - A new Sparrow Sports Medicine training program works to help transition young athletes back to the basketball court and playing field after suffering injuries to their anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL).

ACL injuries are increasing among teen athletes, especially girls. National statistics have shown girls suffering ACL tears at at least three times the rate of boys as they compete at a high level at a younger age in sports such as basketball and volleyball.

Patrick Noud, M.D., a Sparrow orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert, noticed the trends. He recognizes the fact that athletes are usually itching to begin competing before their physicians give the go-ahead.

Noud helped create a six-week strengthening and training program aimed at athletes who have already finished their physical therapy following ACL injuries. The program began this month at the Michigan Athletic Club.

"You usually have a gap of two to three months when your physical therapy ends but your surgeon wants your wound to continue to heal. The athlete is in limbo," Noud says. "This program is the next step in the rehabilitation process. It's the step between getting your strength back and returning to your sport."

The class, held three times a week, concentrates on balance and strengthening exercises. The hope is to eventually help reduce reinjury rates after ACL reconstruction, Noud says.

DeWitt parent Terri Murdoch, whose daughter, Sarah, tore her ACL playing soccer last summer, is thankful she heard about the post-ACL program. Sarah, 17, is getting ready for the DeWitt High School outdoor soccer season.

"With this program, it's not like your kid is just another body in the class. They genuinely seem concerned about the athlete and how they're progressing," Terri Murdoch says.

The program is not covered by standard health insurance and costs a flat rate of $150. Athletes must receive written permission from their surgeons to participate.

Those interested in the program may call Sparrow Sports Medicine at 517.364.8070.