While sitting in Maksimir Park in the heart of Zagreb, Kaitlyn and I talk about injuries.
Kaitlyn, unfortunately, has had much more experience with injuries than I have. She has gone through several surgeries on her knee when she tore her ACL and meniscus, which is the most common injury in soccer for women.
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of two ligaments in the center of the knee. The other ligament is the PCL, and they both help connect the femur to the tibia.
Kaitlyn tells us that when her ACL tore the feeling was as if a rubber band snapped in the back of her knee. I know nothing of that kind of injury because most of mine have been small, minor rips and tears that just need time to heal rather than surgery. Although I did strain a meniscus in my knee once and it took half a year or more to recover I never had to get surgery.
There are many female soccer players who have gone through knee injuries mostly because they were not taught proper injury prevention. Strengthening leg muscles (hams and quads mostly) could keep that rubber band from snapping so easily.
Today, after much research results have shown that knee injuries are very common for women and also youth soccer players so there is more pressure to ensure prevention. Fifa 11+ for example is a warm-up routine that is made specifically to prevent injuries before high intensity matches or trainings.
If more teams warmed up with 11+ or at least their own version meant to prevent injuries maybe Kaitlyn never would have torn her ACL along with hundreds of other female athletes who suffer every day with knee problems. Some cases of injury are outliers of course, things can always happen… but it is better to be safe than sorry nonetheless.