The ACL, or the anterior cruciate ligament, is probably the best known of the four knee ligaments. The list of athletes who have torn their ACLs is lengthy, but it includes many players who have gone on to have productive and prolific careers.
While it’s common that an athlete can suffer a torn ACL from a hard tackle, the majority of soccer ACL tears are non-contact injuries. Pivoting or turning to make a move, or landing after a jump, an athlete will feel their knee twist or hyperextend. The athlete will hear or feel a pop and will not be able to continue to play. Rapid swelling and instability of the knee is also very common with ACL tears.
If you suspect that an athlete has sustained an ACL tear, it’s imperative that he or she be removed from play and that they consult a medical professional who is experienced in dealing with sports injuries. Recovery times vary, but professional soccer players usually miss anywhere from four to six months.
Also of note, research shows that ACL injuries are more common in women than men.
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