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Eva Nemcova, Guard/Forward, Cleveland Rockers

PREVENTION

There is no sure way to prevent ACL injuries in contact sports. However, recent studies have shown that female athletes are at a higher risk of sustaining ACL injuries than male athletes. There are several theories on this, but most sports medicine doctors believe that if women are trained adequately, the frequency of these injuries will decline.

RECOVERY

The average recovery period is 6-8 months. The patients are walking quickly after the surgery, and physical therapy begins within 2 weeks. At that time, the patient begins stationary bicycle exercises and quadriceps and hamstring strengthening. In 10-12 weeks, patients can begin jogging on a treadmill, swimming, and golfing. After about 4 months, the patient can begin pivoting maneuvers and drills. The athlete should be able to return to his or her sport after about 6-8 months.

LONG-TERM OUTLOOK

With modern treatment, a torn ACL is no longer career ending. Treatment works very well and allows athletes to compete at the same level that they had in the past. Some athletes recover from the injury and say that it did not change their performance from their pre-injury level. Others may feel that they lose some of the maneuverability or explosiveness that they had before the injury. Nemcova will have surgery and hopes to play again by January or February.

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