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Young Athletes Invited to Knee Injury Prevention Program Clinics

December 09, 2021

Young athletes don’t have to be patients at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago to receive preventive care from its Institute for Sports Medicine experts.

The Knee Injury Prevention Program (KIPP) at Lurie Children’s is a training program designed to reduce the risk of anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, injuries in adolescent athletes. ACL injuries in kids and teens can be a life-changing event, often requiring surgery and/or many months of rehabilitation. Regardless of treatment, ACL injuries are associated with a 10-fold increased risk for degenerative knee arthritis later in life. Lurie Children’s launched KIPP in 2012 to address this sports safety issue.

Now, each month until April, the hospital is hosting KIPP Clinics for athletes ages 8-18 who are physically active. The free, one-hour program features KIPP exercise instruction led by Lurie Children’s sports medicine staff to build strength and empower young athletes to understand ways to prevent knee injuries. Through repetition of progressive plyometric exercises and feedback from instructors on proper form, the program teaches proper movement techniques to safely jump, land and change direction during play. 

“These types of programs have, through multiple research studies, shown a significant reduction in ACL and other types of knee injuries,” said Dr. Cynthia LaBella, Medical Director for the Institute for Sports Medicine at Lurie Children’s. “By the end of training, athletes are often landing from jumps in a better position, their knees are lined up properly and they’re aware of what positions are safe.”

The next public KIPP training is scheduled for 5-6 p.m., Dec. 16 at Mozart Park, 2036 N. Avers Ave., in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. More clinics are expected to be offered each month through April. Send an email program coordinator Lauren Spirov, MS, at lspirov@luriechildrens.org for additional dates and times.

Coaches benefit from KIPP training, too

In addition to offering sessions for the public to attend, KIPP has partnered with Chicago Public Schools, providing training to coaches of K-8 youth sports. Since September, 147 youth coaches have been trained, helping to ensure they’re encouraging safe play among the young athletes they work with.

The program’s coordinator, Ms. Spirov, who has special training in kinesiology and exercise science, has also grown the program to include training for Chicago Fire, the professional soccer team based in Chicago. She led a KIPP training for 31 Chicago Fire coaches and trainers who are expected to conduct futures sessions for young athletes, further expanding the program.

“Learning how to safely engage in sports will serve these young athletes well throughout their lives,” said Ms. Spirov.

Learn more about Lurie Children’s Knee Injury Prevention Program.

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