ACL Risk Assessment: 5 Simple Tests Every Parent and Coach Can Do

Do you want to know if you kid is at risk for an ACL tear?

You don’t need a special assessment program or highly trained health professionals to run an assessment. You can evaluate your own kids to decide whether there is cause for concern. Here are five tests every coach and every parent can and should do with their players to look for imbalances that may spell trouble.

1. One-legged squat

one legged squat - needing correction

Improper knee position. Knee bent inward and hip rolled inward signalling weak hip and torso.


Proper knee position, knee bent straight over toes, hips stay square.

One-legged squat off an 8- to 12-inch box or step. Knee should drop straight over the toe and not bow inward. (This tests hip and torso strength.)

2. Russian Hamstring

Russian hamstring

Start at kneeling with laces toward the ground and ankles secured by a partner. Lean forward as far as possible under control without bending from the waist, then recover to upright kneeling. (This tests eccentric hamstring strength.)

3. Russian Hamstring, Modifiedhamstring 2

Perform the Russian Hamstring, but lean 45 degrees to the right, then 45 degrees to the left. Ask the athlete which way is easier. (This test isolates the lateral component of hamstring muscle group.)

4. Side Plank

IMG_1043Support the body in a side-lying position, on elbow bent 90 degrees, and feet stacked with ankles flexed and head in neutral position. Have the athlete press up and hold. The body is in a straight line with hips extended and torso tight. Perform on both sides of the body. (This test challenges functional core strength throughout the torso.)

5. Y Balance Test

Stand at the center of the Y formed by a line straight ahead and two lines extending backward from it at 45 degree angles. Test furthest reach in three directions with each leg. (This tests dynamic postural control and ankle dorsi-flexion.) (See the video here.)

These five tests will identify weaknesses in each individual player, even without expensive equipment. Ask the athlete to report how the exercise feels by comparing right versus left. They know immediately when one side out-performs the other, and they’ll tell you. Then, give the weak side extra attention.

IMG_7703 (2)

The key to injury prevention in our players is balance. They need to have balanced strength, balanced flexibility, in 360-degree motion, 100 percent of the time. That requires not only that they train it, but that they train it with game-like movement.

Fit2Finish specializes in using simple equipment like resistance bands and the ball to provide dynamic strength training for injury prevention. Of course, bands are also excellent for flexibility training. Sometimes that draws a crowd or even a flash mob!

Be ready!

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