Concussion, ACL Injury, and Youth Strength Training Tips

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to students, parents, and coaches at Bret Harte Middle School, in Almaden, about injury prevention in youth sports.  My goal was to draw awareness on the latest research in concussion management, ACL injury prevention, and strength training for young athletes.

Sports injury prevention is a topic I feel passionate about since I have been the injured athlete.  Playing high school football I tore my ACL and needed surgery, physical therapy, and 1 year of rehabilitation to return to 100%.  Since that event my goal has been to make sure that doesn’t happen to other young athletes. I was honored to speak to the Almaden community about these important topics.  Unfortunately, although many coaches and parents pay lip service to injury prevention, the reality is that few execute the implementation of these programs well enough to truly make a difference.  My goal with this 45 minute presentation was to create awareness, provide education, and make a change in the community.

I hope to speak to this community again and to other Bay Area school programs on injury prevention, strength training, and sports performance testing.  I want to share the information I have to help coaches, parents, and athletes train smarter and harder to improve performance and health. If you would like me to speak at your school or sports team please contact me through email with this address…

To get a taste of the topics I covered in the seminar here is a sneak peek…

Concussion Management

-It is estimated that 1.6 to 3 million concussion occur annually in the United States, although the number is likely higher as many go unreported by athletes.

-You do not need to lose consciousness to have a concussion (this only happens in 10% of all concussion cases).

-There is no 100% full proof way to prevent a concussion…wearing a mouth guard or specific helmet does not prevent concussions.

-Football athletes should learn proper tackling at the start of EVERY season and always avoid “spearing.”

-Physical therapy can help with concussion management to decrease headache and neck pain with manual therapy, improve balance, and work on strength and conditioning to avoid “de-training” that occurs during rest.

ACL Injury Prevention

-200,000 ACL injuries occur every year in the US

-70% of ACL tears happen due to NON-CONTACT reasons!!

-Females are 2-8 times more likely to tear their ACL than males

-Dynamic warm up programs such as the FIFA 11 or PEP can substantially reducing ACL injuries during a season up to 50%!

-Pre-season injury screening is essential to help pinpoint “at risk athletes” (Y balance test, FMS screening tools)

-Biomechanical real-time evaluation is necessary to clear return to play criteria after ACL surgery.

-Hip strengthening and lower extremity alignment training are essential to any proper team conditioning

Youth Strength Training

-There is no age limit on when a child can start to perform strength training (age 7-8 is when most start to be interested)

-Strength training does not stunt growth or injure the growth plate!

-Strength training is no different than vigorous play…force is force

-Essential functional movement patterns need to be taught and mastered FIRST before adding weight

-Strength training school and team programs need to be monitored to avoid injuries with exercises such as the back squat and Olympic lifts

Looking for More Information?

The above information is just a “taste” of the full presentation.  I was able to go into detail on each topic and answer specific questions from members of the community about their young athletes.

Proper education is the first step to help change the programs and culture in youth sports training.  By building a solid foundation on proper biomechanical movement and functional movement training we can limit injuries and nurture better athletes. To the attendees of the course I provided a copy of my 17 page eBook on strength and conditioning “secrets” used by professional athletes.  If you would like a copy to help take your strength training to the next level…

…Just click the this link to the FREE Strength Training eBook.

Train smarter, train harder, perform better!

By Dr. Kevin Vandi DPT OCS CSCS

Dr. Vandi is the founder of Competitive EDGE Physical Therapy — with his background in physical therapy, orthopedics, and biomechanics, he is a highly educated, compassionate specialist. Using state-of-the-art motion analysis technology and data-driven methodologies, Kevin has assisted a wide range of clients, from post-surgery patients to youth and professional athletes. When he isn’t busy working or reading research, he spends his time with his wife Chrissy and their five wonderful children, often enjoying the outdoors and staying committed to an active lifestyle.

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