What is needed to reduce the risk of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in children? – Hearing from experts

Theresa Heering, Natalie J. Lander, Lisa M. Barnett, Michael Duncan

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    1 Citation (Scopus)
    61 Downloads (Pure)


    Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are an emerging health problem in children. Acknowledging considerable gaps in knowledge, the aim of this study was to examine the current knowledge on childhood ACL injury, and to explore risk assessment and reduction strategies, with experts in the research community.

    Qualitative study; semi-structured expert interviews.

    Interviews with seven international, multidisciplinary academic experts were conducted from February until June 2022. A thematic analysis approach organized verbatim quotes into themes using Nvivo Software.

    Gaps in knowledge on the actual injury mechanism, and influence of physical activity behaviours, constrain targeted risk assessment and reduction strategies in childhood ACL injuries. Strategies to examine and reduce the risk of ACL injury included: examining an athletes' whole-body performance, moving from constraint (e.g., squat) to less constraint (e.g., single-leg) tasks, making assessments into children's context, building a movement repertoire at young age, performing risk reduction programs, multiple sports, and prioritising rest.

    Research is urgently warranted on the actual injury mechanism, reasons for ACL injuries in children, and potential risk factors to update risk assessment and reduction strategies. Further, educating stakeholders on risk reduction strategies could be essential to address the increasing occurrence of childhood ACL injuries.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-44
    Number of pages8
    JournalPhysical Therapy in Sport
    Early online date24 Feb 2023
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

    Bibliographical note

    © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)


    • ACL tears
    • Primary prevention
    • Paediatrics
    • Semi-structured interviews


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