The first article in this series, Injury Mechanisms, focused on identifying neuromuscular imbalances present in non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, one of the most common non-contact injuries to the knee joint. While many bio-markers for this injury are beyond an athlete’s control, the mechanisms discussed are not. Left unnoticed, they introduce faulty bio-mechanics that put an athlete at risk every time they lace up.
That said, identification is only one piece of the puzzle.
Neuromuscular reeducation is the next line of defense against ACL non-contact injuries.
What is the neuromuscular system?
Simply put, the neuromuscular system is the combination of the nervous system and the muscles working together to permit movement. These processes are fundamental to not only force production, but force reduction. While this definition may grossly oversimplify the actual biology, textbook knowledge of these intricacies is not required for a coach or parent to empower an athlete with the following information.
Given a movement, muscle groups may be controlled by different parts of the brain, depending on the speed of the movement. Neuromuscular reeducation develops neuromuscular efficiency: how efficiently and intensively one recruits appropriate muscle fibers to produce the movement pattern accurately, powerfully and safely (4).
However, the neuromuscular imbalances discussed in Injury Mechanisms resulted from faulty dissipative motor actions and reflexes the body adapted over countless of reps, practices and games. Inefficient, incorrect movement patterns are difficult to erase, much like a quarterback learning new throwing mechanics. As the adage goes, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
Any attempt to change faulty technique initially feels awkward creating an inability to perform as comfortably as before, since the body has already adapted to inefficient movement patterns. The emotional distress from struggling with new techniques can prevent the athlete from implementing any changes.
This is where Power Coaches earn their money.
We will provide key insights into attacking ACL injury mechanisms with strategies, proper positions and movements for reeducating an athlete’s neuromuscular system and create an instinct for a strong, stable knee.
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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
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