Sports champions know, the downpayment for titles earned is paid for months before the competition with hours upon hours of preparation. Sure, everyone does drills and weight training, but the teams that stand out go the extra mile to prepare for the best competition.
For Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati, preparation for its latest championship in volleyball, fourth overall, started two years ago, when the school brought in the Sportsmetrics program to prepare its athletes.
What is Sportsmetrics? It is a training program that helps athletes, especially female athletes learn how to jump, land and balance to help prevent the devastating knee injuries that are epidemic among young female athletes.
Anyone who has followed women's sports, even on a casual level, knows knee injuries seem to hit female athletes hardest. In fact, ACL injuries in women and girls are two to 10 times more prevalent than in male athletes.
Not only does that curtail a young woman's ability to play a sport she loves, debilitating injuries can impair her quality of life 10, 20, 30 years down the road.
Full disclosure, Sportsmetrics is under the umbrella of the Cincinnati Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, a client of our company, Game Day Communications. But what separates Sportsmetrics from similar training programs is that it is the first ACL injury prevention program scientifically proven to reduce knee injuries. It keeps young women healthy, and keeps them playing.
"The Ursuline Academy volleyball team has spent the last two summers participating in the Sportsmetrics program offered by Cincinnati Sports Medicine," said Diane Redmond, Ursuline Academy's athletic director. "The six week program has been a great addition to the Ursuline volleyball team's summer conditioning and has helped reduce injuries among the team.
"Coach Jeni Case and the volleyball team members believe that Sportsmetrics has helped prepare them for a very grueling high school season. The success that the volleyball team experienced with Sportsmetrics has led to the Ursuline Academy Athletic Department offering the program seven weeks prior to the start of the fall, winter and spring seasons.
The UA lacrosse, volleyball, soccer and basketball teams have participated in the Sportsmetrics program since the winter of 2008 through October 2009."
Sportsmetrics certifies dozens of athletic trainers each month to be able to implement the ACL prevention drills with their teams. Schools across the country are now doing the extra work to cut down on knee injuries and prepare their athletes for the long seasons ahead.
The certification process is simple, but the lessons learned can save girls and young women from the misery and suffering of ACL injury.
Can the Sportsmetrics program insure a state title? Not really, but it is an investment in the health and well being of our next generation of female athletes.