In the last several years Nev has noticed a huge increase in the number of sports injuries around the knee in children and has found more and more young children and teenagers requiring surgical intervention. The most striking increase is in the numbers of injuries related to a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This is a devastating injury for the young athlete, in both the short term, with a year off sports and a lengthy rehabilitation, but also in the long term for the increased risk of knee arthritis in their young adult lives. It was estimated that the NHS spent £63 million on ACL reconstructions in 2018. If injury prevention programs were in place, this could potentially prevent 50% of these injuries happening in the first place, with massive cost savings.
There is plenty of good data from lots of studies around the world particularly Scandinavia, Australia and the US showing that youth injury prevention programs, when carried out correctly are successful in reducing numbers of significant injuries in children’s sports. Unfortunately, in the UK we are someway behind in even recognising these programs, let alone introducing them into our sports clubs and schools. Different sports bodies do have their own programs, for example, FIFA 11+ for football and Activate for Rugby. However due to many different reasons these programs are only being followed by a small minority of children.
Nev’s interest and passion to reduce sporting injuries is dependent on several factors. He was lucky enough to be invited to speak at the Warwick Sports Knee Conference at St. Georges Park in Burton-on-Trent last year on injury prevention. The session was successful in stimulating debate in the orthopaedic community about ways in which this growing problem can be tackled. The session can be viewed here. here.
Nev has recently applied for a BSCOS Consultant Bursary which will enable him to travel to visit Dr. Tom Patt and his children’s orthopaedic knee practice in the Netherlands. Tom has developed an extremely successful sports injury prevention program which started locally and was expanded to the whole country.
Nev has made it his mission to bring together all interested parties in the UK to develop a solution which will begin to decrease this injury burden to our UK children.