As a physician for the last 15 years, Amy Ertel isn’t easily stumped when it comes to health issues.
She admits being surprised, however, soon after her daughter suffered a serious knee injury while playing volleyball.
Mary Grace Ertel, a Mt. Vernon sophomore, tore her anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and meniscus while playing club volleyball on Feb. 16. During Mary Grace’s rehab, Amy learned what is becoming increasingly obvious in the high school sports world: female athletes are more at risk for knee injuries than their male counterparts.
“I primarily do preventative medicine, so my orthopedic knowledge was lacking,” Ertel said. “I just wish I would have known so we could have taken steps to prevent it.
“I think it is important for athletes in general to be educated on it.”
Due primarily to differences in the female and male body, girl athletes are up to five times more likely to suffer an ACL injury, studies have shown. Female basketball and soccer players are most at risk because of the high running speeds, sudden stops and cutting motions involved with their sports.
Doug Laker has long been aware of the issue. The Greenfield-Central girls basketball coach witnessed his stepdaughter blow out her knee twice several years ago. Most recently, three varsity players — Jayde Jackson, Courtney Wolfe and Briana Tietjen — suffered ACL tears last season and underwent subsequent surgeries. Jackson tore her ACL in both knees on separate occasions. All of the injuries occurred during relatively routine non-contact plays, Laker said.