The Dreaded ACL Tear: Why Your Career Isn’t Over

By Alex Schultz, Women’s Assistant Soccer Coach (Regis University)

Tearing your Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL can be one of the most disheartening injuries an athlete can have. There is a such a negative stigma that tearing your ACL is the end of your career. We know that female athletes in particular are 20 times more likely to tear their ACLs (Sterett, 2017). In soccer specifically, if there is 1 injury to a male athlete, there are 4 injuries to a female athlete. So why are female athletes more likely to tear their ACLs? Dr. Bill Sterett of explains that

1. Women are more commonly born “knock kneed” which puts the ACL at risk.

2. Women are more commonly loose jointed which puts all ligaments at risk

3. The ACL is smaller relative to their body size in women

4. Females tend to land more straight-legged when they jump than men

5. Women have monthly hormonal related changes in the stiffness of the ACL that men don’t. (Sterett, 2017).

But there is still hope! With advances in medical technology, knowledge of the injury, and rehabilitation practices; players can go on to have fantastic collegiate careers. A former player of the Regis University women’s soccer team explains that “I tore two ACLs during my high school career, with my second tear occurring exactly 9 months before reporting to Regis for pre-season training. It was a shattering injury, but one the coaches reassured me, I would overcome. Following an intense rehabilitative protocol, filled with many tears and setbacks, I was cleared to play without restriction one week before leaving my home for Denver. The following four years I was lucky enough to never see another knee injury whilst playing up to 15 hours of soccer a week. Regis provided us, as players, with more ACL tear prevention than I had ever experienced in my 15 years of club and high school soccer training combined. I still firmly believe my health throughout my collegiate career was largely in part to career was largely in part to this elevated level of coaching and preventative care!”



ACL Stats:

ACL Prevention:

Sterett, B., Dr. (2017). Female ACL Injury Statistics. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from