WASHINGTON, D.C. — Among high school athletes, overall rates of anterior cruciate ligament tears were substantially higher in girls than in boys, especially those who played basketball, soccer and lacrosse, according to recently presented data.
“There is an approximately 1.6 times greater rate of [anterior cruciate ligament] tears per athletic exposure in high school female athletes than males. However, there is significant risk in both genders, particularly in high-risk sports such as soccer, football, basketball and lacrosse,” Alex L. Gornitzky, fourth-year medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues wrote.
Gornitzky and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears among high school athletes by gender and sport.
Out of the 699 ACL injuries in 11,227,878 exposures, more ACL tears were seen in male athletes (n=373) compared with females (n=326). However, compared with male athletes, female athletes had significantly higher rates of injury per exposure (RR = 1.56; 95% CI, 1.34-1.81) due to fewer overall exposures, according to the researchers.
For female athletes, ACL injury risks per season were highest in soccer (1.1%), basketball (0.9%) and lacrosse (0.4%), compared with football (0.8%), lacrosse (0.4%) and soccer (0.3%) for male athletes, according to a press release.
Gornitzky and colleagues noted that accurate information regarding injuries is essential for reducing the rates of injuries, helping parents making sports-related decisions and to aid physicians in counseling student athletes and their parents.
“It has been well established that the risk for ACL tear per athletic exposure is higher in female athletes compared to males. As participation rates in high school athletics continue to rise significantly, it has become increasingly important to establish up-to-date, individualized injury information for high school athletes and their families, who represent a large proportion of patients visiting pediatric orthopedic and sports medicine clinics,” Gornitzky said in a press release. – by Casey Hower
Gornitzky AL, et al. Abstract # 31541. Presented at: 2015 AAP National Conference and Exhibition; Oct. 23-27; Washington, D.C.