Male Anchor: They seem to be watching this game. All of this soccer mania has made the sport even more popular among young girls in our area. But with the popularity comes increased chances for knee and leg injuries.

Female Anchor: Dr. Subda Parek [SP] is here now with some advice for parents.

Dr. Parek: Hi, guys. We’re talking about the ACL. It’s the main ligament in the knee. We’ve known that girls are anywhere from 2 to 10 times more likely to tear their ACL. But over the last several years, they’ve been testing out different methods of prevention and now we know it’s working.

Female Anchor 2: Despite the outcome, the women of the World Cup have inspired young female athletes around the country. But when it comes to sports, there is one consequence that affects girls more than the boys, ACL injuries of the knee.

Dr. Ron Noy: It’s the most important ligament because it gives you stability.

Female Anchor 2: Dr. Ron Noy is an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center.

Dr. Ron Noy: When the ligaments are smaller, which they are in women versus boys, the notch grows around. It’s going to be narrower.

Female Anchor 2: That means the ligament is more likely to tear during a twisting motion of the knee. Other theories for why girls are more at risk, less muscular strength in the quadriceps and core, and perhaps hormonal reasons. Some say the ligament is more lax during menstruation but that has not been proven. The best solution is prevention and there are specific exercises and techniques for landing and pivoting that can help prevent an ACL injury. Physical therapist Jennifer Monreal demonstrates three techniques with Anami Chan. Anami is a competitive figure skater who tore her ACL while skiing. First, the wrong way to land.

Jennifer Monreal: So you don’t want to land like this.

Female Anchor 2: Landing in a knocked kneed position raises the risk of an ACL tear. Anami shows us the correct way.

Jennifer Monreal: Make sure your knees are straight, but slightly out. Very good.

Female Anchor 2: Next, pivoting. Don’t start in a knocked kneed position.

Jennifer Monreal: When you pivot on that…and just doing this demonstration, I can feel a nasty pull in my knee. And then you’re going to turn.

Female Anchor 2: Here’s the correct way.

Jennifer Monreal: She turned her foot, allowing the knee to get less stress, and she used her core to help turn her pelvis.

Female Anchor 2: And finally, any exercise that strengthens the core and the inner quadriceps muscles will stabilize the knee.

Jennifer Monreal: Putting this ball in between the knees and squeezing it will activate the fibers of the inner part of the quad.

Dr. Parek: And the latest research shows that the best time to learn those techniques is in the preseason training. It can help actually rewire the muscle memory so the correct form becomes automatic. That’s important because when you’re competing, you don’t have time to think. It just has to be automatic.

Male Anchor: Second nature right?

Dr. Parek: Yep, exactly.