Youth sports play a critical role in children’s motor, social, and emotional development. Athletics give children an outlet to run, jump, play, interact with their peers, learn discipline, and experience joy. With an estimated 45 million children in organized sports, there is an increasing need for injury prevention programs to help youth athletes develop the skills necessary to stay healthy.
There are an estimated 350,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions performed annually, with a conservative cost estimate of $17-25K per injury. Of these injuries, up to 79% may develop knee osteoarthritis, and 20% may suffer a re-injury 2 years after surgery. These injuries affect school performance, sport participation and increase social isolation on top of pain and disability. And, the rate of injury is increasing by 2.3% each year among adolescents.
This July, members of the New York-based Orthology team Elizabeth Melvin and Joel Jezequel launched an ACL injury prevention program with the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation in Harlem, NY. Their aim is to help children understand the anatomical and biomechanical basics behind remaining injury-free while jumping, landing, pivoting and completing other sports-related movements.
Earlier this year Elizabeth and Joel completed the Hospital for Special Surgery’s (HSS) Sports Safety Educator Certification. This enabled them to incorporate the HSS sports safety protocol into our program with the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, which is designed specifically for kids between the ages of 10 and 16 who are deemed at increased risk for ACL injury.
Our goal is to reach a multitude of youth athletes across a variety of sports, and provide them with the knowledge and tools necessary to reduce their injury risk—all while still having fun.