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Monday, August 25, 2008

'Tis the season...

...for knee injuries.

If you're a football fan like me, you love and hate this time of year. The pre-season is winding down, and it's time for us to enjoy the best time of the sporting year - football season.

Unfortunately, it's a double-edged sword - we've waited for 6 months for our favorite teams to take the field, and quite often, our whole season can go down in flames with one key injury.

And you know what I'm talking about - when we're talking football, we're talking knee injuries. In the past month or so we've lost Peyton Manning (surgically removed bursa sac), Shawn Merriman (torn PCL and LCL), Jason Taylor ("sprained" knee) and Osi Umenyiora (torn lateral mensicus) for various lengths of time. Some will be back this year - others won't. Last year the Colts lost three starters to season long knee injuries (Booger McFarland - torn patellar tendon, Rob Morris - torn ACL, Marvin Harrison - ruptured bursa sac).

Football is hard to prepare for physically when compared to other sports. In basketball, soccer, and volleyball you typically see non-contact injuries. Essentially, these people have weak or faulty active stabilization patterns - typically the glutes and hamstrings are either inhibited or flat out weak, and smooth deceleration of jumps and cuts isn't possible. When you lack active stability, your body is forced to rely on the next source - passive stabilizers like menisci, tendons and ligaments. Obviously, if you can get stronger and improve activation patterns, you go a long way to staying healthier.

In contrast, football players are exposed to both non-contact AND contact based injuries. As I mention in my Bulletproof Knees manual (and the lecture as well), you could have the most orthopedically healthy knee known to man, but if you get caught in the wrong position, or hit with enough force in the right area, your knee is probably going to go.

So if it were up to you, which option would you choose?

1 - You figure there's nothing you can do to protect your knees, so instead of playing you curl up in the fetal position on a remote corner of the sideline? Or
2 - Take as many steps possible to reduce, and possibly even prevent, a major knee injury?

If you're a competitive footballer, whether at the Pop Warner or Pro Bowl level, you owe it to yourself to check out Bulletproof Knees - it may be the only thing between you and a knee injury.

Stay strong

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