More young people (aged 10-20) in the UK are experiencing knee injuries while playing popular sports like football, rugby and netball than ever before. In fact, the number of young people having surgery for knee ligament tears (called anterior cruciate ligament or ACL injury) after sports injury has gone up by over 2000% in the last 20 years. This puts a considerable burden on NHS resources and the young people themselves, who often take 12 months off sport while they recover. This can then affect both their mental and physical health and lead to long term complications, like arthritis in their knee. Knee injury is also related to inequality, as it is more common in young women, although the reasons for this are poorly understood. However, there is something that can be done about this problem, which is to conduct a proper warm up before playing to prevent injury. There is already lots of evidence that simple injury prevention programs work in young athletes and reduce the chances of sustaining knee injuries by over 50%. Evidence from other countries shows that if young people do this type of program (lasting 12 minutes) twice a week, for example before training and matches to warm up, then they will prevent ACL injuries. However, there is currently no evidence based injury prevention program adopted by UK schools or sports clubs and some of the injury prevention programs are too long or complicated for easy use.
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