Star Tribune interviews Dr. Mandelbaum about why ACL injuries like Sam Bradford's cause conflict in medical ranks.
“We know the percentages of a recurrent tear can range somewhere between 5 and 25 percent [higher], so it’s not uncommon,” said Dr. Bert Mandelbaum, a Santa Monica-based orthopedic surgeon and ACL injury prevention researcher at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute. “It’s one of the things we focus on trying to minimize.”
Bradford was fortunate not to suffer a third tear in the season opener. But another noncontact injury occurred when he twisted the knee badly enough that he had to miss last week’s game at Pittsburgh and was still limited in Thursday’s practice.
Mandelbaum isn’t familiar with Bradford’s latest injury, and he won’t venture a guess as to when his swelling will subside or when there’s enough stability in the knee to play on it.
But Mandelbaum has studied Bradford’s first two injuries. They were part of an NFL award-winning video analysis of noncontact ACL injuries that Mandelbaum helped create.
“You look at Sam’s first injury,” Mandelbaum said. “He’s just going to the sideline. It was something he’s done hundreds of times before.”
Most view ACL injuries of that nature as just the luck of the draw. Bradford, Jordy Nelson, Reggie Wayne, Carson Palmer, Ryan Tannehill, the list goes on and on. It was just their time, some believe.
He has spent a couple of decades studying how to reduce ACL injuries. The journey began when there was a dramatic increase in the number of torn ACLs suffered without contact by young female soccer players in Southern California.
Based on his research, Mandelbaum created a training program he calls PEP, short for prevent injuries and enhance performance. He believes noncontact injuries can be reduced if athletes are trained to have better neuromuscular strength and control between their hips and knees.
Mandelbaum also has worked with the U.S. men’s national soccer team and recently with NFL team doctors such as the Giants’ Scott Rodeo and the 49ers’ Timothy McAdams. With Mandelbaum’s help, McAdams put together a video that included 68 cases of noncontact ACL injuries.
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