KIPP for Girls

Lurie Children's Institute for Sports Medicine offers a Knee Injury Prevention Program (KIPP) for girls, 10 to 21 years old, who are active in sports. This six-week neuromuscular exercise program was developed by our sports medicine experts and is based on award-winning, published scientific research. KIPP’s primary goal is to reduce girls’ risk for sports-related knee injuries, especially tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

KIPP promotes the health of female athletes, who are four to six times more likely to injure the ACL than boys in similar sports, through education and evidence-based exercise training. KIPP will teach your child more about her own body mechanics. While building strength, power, agility and balance, she will learn how to avoid unsafe knee positions and improve her athletic performance. 

The girls’ high school sports with ​the highest rates of ACL injury are as follows:

  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Gymnastics
  • Lacrosse
  • Field hockey
  • Softball
  • Volleyball
  • Track and field
  • Cheerleading

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments holding the bones of the k​nee joint together. Teenage female athletes are especially vulnerable to ACL tears due to their neuromuscular activation patterns when landing from jumps, pivoting and decelerating.

Potential health outcom​es for girls participating in KIPP include the following:

  • ​Improved strength, flexibility and coordination in the hip and leg muscles
  • Improved core strength and stability
  • Awareness of unsafe knee positions and movements during athletic maneuvers
  • Improved body mechanics for jumping, landing, pivoting and decelerating
  • Reduced risk of knee and ankle injury
  • Reduced risk of tearing the ACL
  • Reduced risk for activity-related knee pain

The Lurie Children's Difference

KIPP is just one part of Lurie Children’s commitment to injury prevention in the communities of the Chicago metropolitan area. By reaching out to young athletes in schools and community centers, we help hundreds of children stay injury-free and out of the hospital.

As a KIPP participant, your child has the option of contributing to the Institute for Sports Medicine’s research on the treatment and prevention of sports-related injuries. Through research, we are able to identify injury risk factors and determine the most effective and efficient methods for implementing injury prevention programs that reach large numbers of athletes. Studies also help us identify best practices in sports medicine, which lead to improvements in patient care and treatments for all children with sports-related injuries.

What to Expect

KIPP consists of a one-hour class, twice a week for six consecutive weeks. Courses are offered four to five times per year throughout the Chicago area at no cost to you. KIPP instructors are Certified Athletic Trainers and Licensed Physical Therapists. They are experts in sports injury prevention techniques.

KIPP instructors will lead your child through a series of progressively challenging exercises, including jump training and agility drills. Instructors provide continuous feedback to athletes about proper body mechanics. While building strength, power, agility and balance, your child will learn how to avoid unsafe knee positions and improve her athletic performance.

Please be advised that KIPP is not a treatment program for knee injuries. KIPP is a prevention program for athletes who may have had a knee injury in the past, but aren’t currently showing symptoms. Girls must be fully recovered from any injuries before they can participate. If you would like to find out if KIPP is right for your child, please ​call us at 312.227.6190 or email

Lurie Children’s also offers KIPP for Coaches. This program trains coaches and physical education teachers how to implement a 15-minute KIPP warm-up routine for the athletes in their schools and community centers. In addition, coaches have access to a free online training program.

Our Specialists

Cynthia LaBella, MD, is a pediatric sports medicine physician at Lurie Children’s. She is Medical Director of our Institute for Sports Medicine and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Madeline McHugh, MS, ATC is a Certified Athletic Trainer. As KIPP Coordinator for our Institute for Sports Medicine, she leads KIPP sessions and is available to offer detailed counseling on the proper ways to train your athletes on the safest knee positions.

Rebecca Carl, MD, is an attending physician at Lurie Children’s specializing in pediatric sports medicine and non-operative orthopaedics. She is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School.

Brian Tho Hang, MD​, is an attending physician at Lurie Children’s specializing in pediatric sports medicine and emergency medicine. He is a Clinical Instructor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School.

KIPP Instructors

We have a number of Certified Athletic Trainers and Physical Therapists who have been trained in KIPP exercises and training techniques. They help lead KIPP sessions throughout the year.


KIPP is offered at various locations in the Chicago area. Girls may enroll individually or as a team. For schedules and more information, please call 312.227.6190 or email

To enroll your child in KIPP, please complete the General Consent and Enrollment Form.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment with a pediatric sports medicine specialist, please call 1.800.542.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC).

To learn more about KIPP or about the treatment and prevention of sports injuries in children and teens, please contact Dr. LaBella at 312.227.6527.