Thursday, 21 August 2014

Is an ACL knee injury an accident waiting to happen?

Yesterday we had confirmed that my 16 year old son had indeed suffered a ruptured ACL in his knee. Of course we in football know the devastating news this is and length of rehabilitation required. His last club was
Jack V Anderlecht
 QPR and he had other possibilities elsewhere which he was pursuing, but our main concern was to keep him in full-time education. In his last year at school we had already took the decision to stop his day release program and to stay at school in crucial exam years. Today, he has got his results and they are an indication that it proved to be the right decision.
However still in pursuit of a careerer he was still in the minds of some very decent clubs but at the end of July the worst thing happened. The usual thing with an ACL. Not an horrific tackle or anyone to blame, just an awkward landing but the second he did it I knew. You see, I have dislocated my knee more times than I can remember as I lived most of my adult life with a failed set of ligaments.

I ruptured mine at just 16 also in a similar way. I didn't have the club to fly me to the states and after 5 years and 2 operations was told it simply could not be repaired. Now im on 6 operations on that knee and finally I have full stability and mobility thanks to the fantastic surgeon Mr Manjure but that took till my mid 30's to find a surgeon that could give me my sporting life back and actually my career.

Famous for being on crutches
Now we are very positive about advances in medicine and in particular the irony is that my son is now in the hands of Mr Manjure who we trust will do his best to give our son his football career chances back. But, I cant help thinking about the similarities, is it co-incidence, or not? I'm a football coach, not a surgeon or scientist but I've got a lot of experience of knee injuries now and I wish I could see some studies or research on the genetics of ligaments. How could such a powerful lad go down so easy with such a nasty injury? The same that plagued my life, not just football.
Due to my experience we had already taken great steps to try and prevent this accident happening, in particular my son had much stronger Glutes and Quads than the average and was highly committed to S&C. In fact, he was in peak condition and the professionals would always comment on his build and strength. Yet, this still happened. An accident? Or was it simply inevitable? Is there something genetically built in meaning this was bound to happen based on the excursion placed. Was this a manufacturing defect in the aircraft that could only sustain so many riggers of take off and landing?

Ended with multiple ligament repairs
I am connected to people in sports science. Also some very respected people in orthopaedics and physiotherapy. Also overseas and in particular the US. I would love them to share with me any information on this and if not, should it be researched? Maybe there is something that we should do different or more to avoid it in high risk people? Or maybe its just a massive coincidence? I don't know. Maybe were now a set of examples for your research that could help someone avoid this and even protect a football clubs asset?

Tony McCool

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