Health - ACL Awareness

It’s been more than 30 years since Title IX paved the way for many of the girls and women who are playing soccer and other sports today. In that time, there have been numerous studies showing the risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in female athletes – particularly soccer players.

Research has shown that with specific training routines, the risk of a female athlete sustaining an ACL injury can be reduced.

Santa Monica Sports Medicine Foundation's PEP Program

This prevention program (PDF) consists of a warm-up, stretching, strengthening, plyometrics, and sport specific agilities to address potential deficits in the strength and coordination of the stabilizing muscles around the knee joint.  It is important to use proper technique during all of the exercises. 

The coaches and trainers need to emphasize correct posture, straight up and down jumps without excessive side-to-side movement, and reinforce soft landings.  This program should be completed 3 times a week.  If you are using this program with athletes that are twelve or under, please perform the plyometrics over a visual line on the field or a flat 2” cone and land each jump with two feet. 

Do not perform single leg plyometrics with young individuals until they demonstrate substantial control.  (see addendum

The field should be set up 10 minutes prior to the warm-up.  This will allow for a smooth transition between the activities.  A sample field set-up has been included in your packet. 

This program should take approximately 15 - 20 minutes to complete.  However, when you first begin the program, it may take slightly longer due to the fact that you must first become well acquainted with the program and the transitions.  Along side each exercise you will notice a box with the approximate amount of time that should be spent on each activity.  This will serve as a guideline to you in order to conduct your warm-up in a time efficient manner.


Health - Concussion Awareness

Recently, the state of Maryland passed a law (General Code 14-501) which requires children under 18 who have suffered a head injury while playing on a state or county field be removed from play for evaluation. In order to return to play, they must obtain written clearance from a licensed healthcare provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion.


What is a concussion?                                                                                          

A concussion is a brain injury or trauma caused by a hit or blow to the head.  Concussions can range from mild to severe and can occur even if the athlete doesn't lose consciousness.  If untreated, concussions in youth athletes can change the way their brain works and can lead to long-term developmental problems including permanent brain damage



Symptoms and Signs of a possible concussion in youth players:

  • Blurry, fuzzy, or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Headaches
  • Concentration problems or memory lose
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Balance and dexterity problems or dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting or weak stomach
  • General confusion

Recommended Return to Play Procedures/Tips:

If a player is suspected of having a concussion, they NEED to seek medical attention immediately. 

  • Youth participants should be kept out of all athletic activities (including practice) when a concussion is suspected/diagnosed.  While the brain is healing from a trauma, athletes are significantly more likely to receive a second concussion if they begin athletic activity too soon. 
  • Keep possibly concussed athletes away from any cognitive activities that require concentration or intense focus.  Activities such as video games, computer work, cell phone games, lengthy TV watching, should be all avoided. 
  • Do not give any medication to an athlete who is suspected of having a concussion unless it was previously prescribed or authorized by a physician after the trauma. 
  • The State of Maryland, US Youth Soccer, and MSYSA mandate that no youth athlete be permitted to return to competition (games or practice) until they are cleared by a physician. 

Helpful Links:

Maryland United FC Forms:

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