Trainer's Corner

Trainer's Corner

What is the ACL?
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in sports. Injury to this ligament is especially common in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball that require a lot of cutting, agility, and balance.

What causes ACL Tears?
ACL tears & sprains can be caused by changing direction rapidly, stopping suddenly, slowing down while running (deceleration), landing from a jump incorrectly, or direct contact or collision (such as a football tackle).

Why are Females at Higher Risk of ACL Tears?
Several studies have shown that female athletes have a higher incidence of ACL injury than male athletes in certain sports. It has been proposed that this is due to differences in physical conditioning, muscular strength, and neuromuscular control. Other suggested causes include differences in pelvis and lower extremity (leg) alignment, increased looseness in ligaments, and the effects of estrogen on ligament properties.
Since the implementation of Title IX legislation in 1972 allowing equal opportunity for girls and women to participate in sports, there has been a significant increase in the number of females participating in competitive sports. However, the total number of injuries has also increased. Studies have shown that a female soccer player's risk of sustaining an ACL injury is two to eight times greater than her male counterpart. Subsequent studies have shown that adding neuromuscular and proprioceptive exercises to the training regimen can reduce the number of ACL injuries by two to four-fold.

ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a software tool used in many professional, collegiate, and high school sports programs across the country, to recognize and better manage concussion injuries.

ImPACT has been scientifically validated through over 15 years of university-based research. The ImPACT exam takes about 25 minutes and is non-invasive to complete. A baseline ImPACT exam will provide normative measurements of the brain's cognitive abilities such as memory, reaction time, processing speed, and concentration.

The results of the baseline ImPACT scores are collected and stored. If an athlete experiences a head injury or concussion during the season, she will be re-evaluated at school and the results will be compared to the preseason baseline data. Doing this allows the athletic trainers and physicians to determine the athlete’s neurocognitive status, along with separate physical and neuromuscular exams, to determine when it is safe for the athlete to return to active sports. ImPACT is just one piece of determining whether the athlete can safely return to activity.

The baseline ImPACT exam is NOT a pass/fail exam. The baseline ImPACT exam will give us information on how your brain functions on a normal basis so comparisons can be made if a head injury is sustained as functionality of the brain may depreciate due to the head injury.

Who needs to take the ImPACT Test?

One baseline ImPACT exam is valid for two years (unless a concussion is sustained – then a new baseline exam will be needed).

ImPACT Test Instructions

List of 4 items.

  • Step 1: General Information

    • Set aside 30 minutes in a quiet room with no distractions to take the test.
    • Turn off any televisions, radios, or anything else that can produce background noise.
    • Avoid any and all interruptions during the test.
  • Step 2: Prohibited Behaviors During ImPACT Testing

    • Test takers must use a standard external mouse. A finger mouse pad, i.e., laptop mouse, a track mouse, or anything other than a standard mouse are prohibited.
    • No headphones or cell phones are allowed to be used during the test.
    • Do not all anyone else to take the test for you - this baseline exam is intended to measure your brain's normal ability.
    • Do not write answers down - this will provide inaccurate baseline scores.
  • Step 3: Requirements for ImPACT Testing

    • Google Chrome is not a supported browser for the ImPACT Test. Use of Microsoft Edge, Firefox 1.5 or above, Safari for Apple products running OSX 10.2 and above are preferred.
    • Test takers running Windows 7 should make sure to have Power Management set to High Performance - otherwise performance will be slowed and negate test scoring.
  • Step 4: Taking ImPACT Test

    • Read all directions completely and carefully.
    • Enter the Academy's Customer Code: VC7QQXDJVD and click "Launch Baseline Test."
    • Be sure to turn off pop-up blockers as the Baseline Test will appear in a pop-up window. Results will automatically be generated to the Academy's database.