The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


January 1, 2013

ACL tears are on the increase for female athletes

Proper training techniques can help avoid knee problems

MERCER COUNTY — This past year we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the law that demanded equal participation in sports for girls and women. But with equality in sports, it also brought equality in another area related to athletics: Injuries!

Especially on the increase are injuries to the anterior cruciate ligaments, know more familiarly as ACLs.

“The main thing that can create ACL problems for girls is jumping,” said Dr. Keith Lustig, the director of the Sports Medicine Clinic for Sharon Regional Health System. “It’s the way they land when they jump. Because of the way girls are built, they land differently, with their feet out. This puts more pressure on the knees.”

But that’s not the only concern with females, there is also the difference in hormones to males. There are estrogen receptors on ACLs which determine the development of the ligaments, fiberous tissues that connect the upper and lower leg bones.

However, because of studies on women and ACL tears, Lustig said there are jumping and landing techniques which can be taught to help prevent these injuries as well as stretching and strengthening regimens which condition the knee areas.

Lustig, former Hickory High football and wrestling standout, has done ACL repairs on many boys and girls involved in high school sports locally since returning to the area a few years ago after years at Erie’s Hamot Medical Center. And he has considerable experience regarding knee injuries both as an orthopedic  surgeon and as a long-time scholastic and collegiate football coach.

“There are still a lot of studies being done on why ACL tears occur,” said Lustig. “But to help prevent them there has to be a combination of flexibility and strength training. It’s so hard to determine what went wrong when ACL injuries happen.”

Part of it could be the increased weight-lifting and strengthening of various leg muscles. And without proper flexibility, something has to give when great pressure is applied on the knee joint.

There are also outside contributors. At one time after artificial turf was developed, there seemed to an increase in non-contact ACL injuries in football and soccer. But because of better turf, those numbers are reduced today.

And while there seems to be a lot more ACL injuries than there were in the 1960s and ’70s, part of it is because of the ability to diagnose the problems, Lustig said. Before MRIs, it was hard to determine that a knee injury was with the ACL.

But while it is much easier to diagnose the ACL injuries today, it is also much faster to get athletes back to the field, gym, mats or tracks.

Lustig has studied many of the various surgical techniques developed for ACL injuries from some of the top clinics in the northern hemisphere and is highly regarded for his work.

“It used to be a year or more for recovery to return to a sport,” said Lustig, who heads sports medicine clinics in Hermitage and Hubbard for SRHS. “Now we don’t cast and we start rehabilitation right away. Some kids return to sports in under 4 months.

“Of course, a lot of if depends on the person and how hard they are willing to work at rehabilitation. We have a good team here. We have great trainers on site  who work with and push the athletes.

“But if you don’t rehab properly, it can create problems and may actually require more surgery.”

Lustig and the other staff at the sports clinic keep in close contact with area schools and can often be seen plying their trade at various high school games. But no matter how well athletes are trained today, Lustig admits that there will always be injuries in sports.

But the goal is to cut down on the number of ACL injuries as well as properly get athletes ready to return to their sports as soon as possible when ACL injuries occur.


Text Only
  • Doug Horner Roundup: Rockets, Hornets, Blue Devils win

    ä Slippery Rock 11, Grove City 3 — At Memorial Park in Grove City, Travis Lauster singled and tripled and reached base 4 times as the defending District 10 Class AAA champion Slippery Rock Rockets beat the Eagles.
    Joe Barnhart went the distance for Slippery Rock. He gave up a dozen hits in earning the win. At the dish for Slippery Rock, Jackson Kerchis, Butler and Matt Badger all had 2 hits and Arrenzo doubled.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dylan McConnell Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM

    ä Wilmington 98, West Middlesex 51 — At West Middlesex, the visiting Greyhounds gave the Big Reds their first home, dual-meet loss in approximately 4 seasons according to Middlesex mentor Ed Pikna.
    Cooper (400, 800, distance- and mile-relay legs), jumper Perrine and sprinter Scott (100, 200) gave the Greyhounds the giddy-up by winning multiple events.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo


    Baseball, softball and tennis teams were in action Monday as the nice weather allowed for high school spring sports action that has been limited so far by rain, snow and windy conditions.


    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Players relent, agree to play for reinstated football coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato's football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.

    April 20, 2014

  • Celebrate! Hickory track coaches near finish line

    While the Shenango Valley lionizes legendary gridiron greats and hardwood heroes, the sport of track & field at Hickory High has resonated its relevance throughout District 10 and commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
    For the better part of the last 3 decades that was due, to a great extent, to the efforts of Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak.
    More than 200 dual-meet victories combined between the girls’ and boys’ programs, 9 district championships (7 girls, 2 boys), 2 statewide runners-up berths and another pair of 3rd-place finishes, culminating in the Lady Hornets’ 2012 PIAA Class AA championship.
    Their collective resumé would be envied by any coach, regardless of sport. Which makes this recent revelation regrettable: Dzuricsko and Slezak simultaneously will step down at this season’s conclusion.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Cavaliers are example of how an owner impacts a team

    WHEN LEBRON James vacated Cleveland for South Beach a few years ago, angry Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert declared that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before James and the Miami Heat.
    How’s that working out, Dan?
    Miami is seeking a third straight title this postseason while the Cavaliers are headed for the golf courses. Pretty sad.

    April 20, 2014

  • Roundup: Trojans, Hounds win team titles at WM Invitational

    Wilmington High girls and Greenville boys dominated the annual Big Red Track & Field Invitational Thursday afternoon in West Middlesex.
    A half-dozen girls’ and 7 boys’ teams competed.
    Wilmington overwhelmed the female field, as the Lady Greyhounds garnered almost twice as many points as runner-up Lakeview (236-5 to 133.5).

    April 18, 2014

  • Aaron Webb Roundup: WM diamondmen edge Reynolds, 6-4

    ä West Middlesex 6, Reynolds 4 — At Transfer, the Big Reds snapped a 4-all tie by plating a run in the 4th inning and another in the 7th in a 2-run win over the Raiders.
    Mark Colella earned the mound win in a relief appearance for WM. No pitching stats were submitted.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Roundup: Hickory, Wilmington softball teams win

    Paced by Chelsea Marriott’s muscle, Hickory High hammered 4 home runs Saturday afternoon en route to a 19-1 rout of Sharon.
    At Wengler, Marriott mauled 2- and 3-run round-trippers to right-center and straightaway center field, respectively. Her Lady Hornets’ teammates Hannah Gallagher and Morgan McBride mustered 3-run bombs, also.

    April 13, 2014

  • Fired coach in Mankato unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

    Minnesota State University-Mankato officials wrongly accused former football coach Todd Hoffner of viewing pornography sites on his work  computer  before firing him last May, a state arbitrator has disclosed.

    April 11, 2014

  • Roundup: Hickory track coaches to step down following season

    Hickory High track & field co-head coaches Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak announced they will step down at the season’s conclusion.
    Dzuricsko and Slezak, who led the Lady Hornets to the 2012 PIAA Class AA crown, jointly made the announcement via e-mail late Wednesday.

    April 11, 2014

  • Nikolo Lima Roundup: Devil diamondmen roll past Sharon

    An old-school baseball bromide states that, early in any season, pitching is always ahead of hitting. However Sharpsville shunned that axiom Wednesday afternoon.
    The Blue Devils banged 15 hits, and Sharpsville short-circuited Sharon, 16-4, in 5 innings.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Haley Boyd Roundup: Hounds, Hornets notch track sweeps

    ä Wilmington 116, Reynolds 44 — At New Wilmington, the host Lady Hounds were led by Rikki Brumbaugh (4x8, 4x4 relay legs, 400- and 800-meter runs); Hannah Drake (long, triple jumps, 4x4 relay); Allison Baldwin (4x8 and 4x4 relay legs); Lexi Brumbaugh (1600-, 3200-meter runs, distance-relay leg), and Tessa Sikora (high jump, 200-meter dash, sprint-relay anchor).

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians fans looking for big things this year

    LIFE IS GOOD if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cleveland Indians. At least for now!
    Heading into Saturday, both teams were 3-1 and looking pretty sharp. Since both made the playoffs last year, there are high expectations for both clubs. But in baseball, every year is a new season and there are no guarantees.
    Still, it’s always nice when your favorite teams get off to a good start. In too many seasons, Pittsburgh and Cleveland fans were only talking about the NFL draft because hopes were bleak for their baseball teams.

    April 6, 2014

  • Nikki Arbanas Hickory's Arbanas 1st team All-State; KC's Hood 3rd team

    ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Teams from the WPIAL won three of the four PIAA girls basketball championships this year, and southwestern Pennsylvania is turning out to be just as dominant when it comes to postseason honors.
    Pittsburgh-area programs produced seven of the eight major award winners on this season’s Sports Writers Pennsylvania High School Girls Basketball All-State Team, including all four players of the year.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

Top 25 (AP Poll)
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter