Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Science, Technology and Society Program


James R. Fleming


Around 400,000 people tear their anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) every year in the United States. The majority of these injuries occur during athletics, and most commonly to females. Their neuromuscular abilities, anatomies, and hormones put female athletes at a much higher risk of ACL injury than male athletes. The current gold standard of treatment, ACL reconstruction, is an imperfect technique at best. It leaves patients with much higher risk of both ACL reinjury and early onset of osteoarthritis. Prevention programs, aimed at reducing the neuromuscular risk factors in female athletes, have proved to effectively reduce the number of noncontact ACL injuries in many studies since the late 1990s. Despite their demonstrated success, ACL prevention programs are not commonplace in high school and collegiate athletics today. It is the responsibility of the athletes, parents, and coaches to educate themselves on the elevated risks of ACL injuries for female athletes. Furthermore, coaches, athletic trainers, and athletic directors must work together to create and implement ACL prevention programs specifically tailored to their sports teams’ needs to eliminate this painful and detrimental commonality in today’s female athletics. With the dedication to spreading knowledge about ACL injuries and implementing prevention programs, the number of ACL injuries in female athletes will undoubtedly decrease.


ACL Injury, Prevention Program, Female Athlete