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ACL Injuries Common in Wakeboarders

Study shows high incidence of tears


A new study published in the journal Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach suggests that wakeboarding may be one of the most dangerous activities for your knees.

A few sports are notorious for ACL—or anterior cruciate ligament—tears, such as soccer and skiing. However, the numbers from a poll of semi-professional and professional wakeboarders represent some of the highest reported injury rates of any activity.

For the study, two researchers from Emory University in Atlanta and the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics in Chattanooga sent out surveys internationally to professional and amateur wakeboarders and asked about any history of ACL tears. Forty-three percent of the respondents said they had torn their ACL while wakeboarding.

The majority wrote that they had felt a pop or buckle after trying to land a high jump. A smaller number (approximately 13.5 percent) were injured when their board’s edge caught in the water.

Almost three-quarters of participants said the injury ruined their ability to wakeboard until their ACL was surgically reconstructed.

ACL repairs require surgery and months of rehabilitation. If you’re worried your knees may be at risk, check out this feature on ESPN that list risk factors and exercises to help prevent injury. 

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