Systematic approach helps prevent ACL injury in athletes

Timothy Hewett, Ph.D., discusses a systematic approach to prevention of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in athletes. Dr. Hewett and colleagues are using biomechanical principles to calculate the loads and forces on the body under various scenarios, to help prevent sports-related ACL injuries. ACL tears are the No. 1 reason for time loss for athletes in multiple sports. The research team's prospective cohort studies show 70 percent of those injuries (even in professional sports) are noncontact injuries, and their randomized controlled trials show that 50 to 70 percent of those injuries are preventable.

Dr. Hewett is director of biomechanics, sports medicine research, and a professor of orthopedic surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, physiology, and biomedical engineering at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota.