Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are a common knee injury in athletes. Studies do show that female athletes are two to eight times more likely to injure the ACL in noncontact sports activities. Soccer, basketball, and volleyball players seem to be at greatest risk.
Researchers are studying the differences between male and female athletes doing the same sports activities. If they can find a specific cause for the problem, they may be able to prevent it from happening.
So far they've been able to show it's not one single factor causing the problem. Differences in anatomy may be part of the picture, but it's not the only factor.
It looks like specific strength training may be the answer. Stressing knee flexion on landing and balance training has been shown to reduce injuries in female athletes. It's not a matter of keeping girls out of sports. It's more a matter of finding ways to include them. Specific-sports training may be all they need to level the playing field.