“How do you strengthen a ligament?”

Yesterday, Georgia hosted .  Ron Courson spoke, and the subject quickly turned to Georgia’s strength and conditioning program and what, if anything could be done to lessen the risk of knee injuries that it seems the Dawgs have suffered a rash of in recent seasons.

Courson, to his credit, got pretty specific with his answer.

It seems Richt had some specific things in mind with the hire of Tereshinski’s successor.

… The Bulldogs in December hired Mark Hocke from Alabama to take over their football strength and conditioning program. And one of the techniques that they’re implementing is something called proprioception. In general, proprioception is the awareness of the position of one’s body and, in sports training, it incorporates a lot of balancing techniques into training exercises.

“That’s one thing we found out (helps), learning how to land coming off a jump,” Courson said after the 90-minute program. “Because most ACLs are non-contact. The contact things we can’t do a lot to prevent. But the non-contact things we can. There’s a lot of things we can do from a strength and condition standpoint. We tried to sit down with Coach Hocke and our strength staff and tried to look at what areas we wanted to focus on. For example, we may want to put more emphasis on hamstring, we want to put more emphasis on shoulder and rotator cuff or balance and proprioception. If we can identify trends and factors, it helps us to be better at trying to prevent.”

That they’ve thought hard about the problem is good.  Whether this leads to healthier results is the big question now.  Malcolm Mitchell, who was also at the forum, is skeptical and

“An ACL isn’t a muscle. I can’t make it stronger. I can make the areas around it stronger and hopefully that prevents the injury. But you still have a chance of that happening. You just look at how Keith (Marshall) got hurt. Was that preventable on his behalf? The way I got hurt, the only thing that was preventable was if I wouldn’t have run down there (to celebrate with Todd Gurley). For Todd, how preventable was that”

“So I’m not sure ACL has one distinct motion or one thing that hurts you. It’s so varied in the way it can happen, you never know. So I don’t think as of right now. There’s nothing that proves that. The only thing that’s been proven is you can recover from it.”

Courson seems to agree to some extent, as he notes that the recent swell of ACL problems is somewhat cyclical.  But if there’s anything to be learned from studying what’s happened and there’s a course of action that can cut the risk even a little, it’s worth pursuing.  The best part to take from all of this is that there seems to be a different attitude now about what to expect out of strength and conditioning.  We’ll see where that goes this season.

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UPDATE:  The ACL stuff isn’t all Mitchell is cynical about.

Mitchell didn’t indicate any huge immediate changes under the new strength staff, other than “they’re hyped up all day” by virtue of their youth.

“Working out is working out,” Mitchell said. “How tough it is? They’re gonna make it challenging. But at the end of the day it’s just working out to get better. You just do what they say and hopefully you get better.”

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

29 responses to ““How do you strengthen a ligament?”

  1. “a course of action that can cut the risk even a little, it’s worth pursuing. The best part to take from all of this is that there seems to be a different attitude now about what to expect out of strength and conditioning.”

    I couldn’t agree more Senator.

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  2. RocketDawg

    I agree with what Malcolm had to say and have been saying the same thing the entire time. The ACL (or ANY connective tissue) is not something that can be strengthened no matter how much you try. I am completely supportive of the proprioception training. If you are more aware of body position and where you are in “space” then you have a better chance of coming down on a more stable platform. It might have helped with Malcolm’s injury (more aware of how to land after jumping up to celebrate) but wouldn’t have done much with Todd’s injury against Auburn.

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  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    “proprioception” I thought Viagra helped with that?

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    • Cojones

      Is the word “strengthening” misleading when it comes to a ligament? Flexibility is the key in preventing injury to any tissue. Muscles can be “strengthened” by exercise, but can still be “pulled”. Flexibility is what keeps tissue from parting under strain. Is there a school of scientific-based thought that implies that too much exercise is bad after a certain point is reached? Does the uptake of certain ions promote flexibility in a ligament and in certain joints?

      I find that Mitchell’s words are thought-provoking and serious. “Out of the mouths of babes”….?

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    • Cojones

      Sorry the following post is misplaced up here. It was meant to be last but was not posted before my reply here to Scorpio.

      Would that be proprioperception you are referring to or is it more propriomisconception?

      Viagra only helps you from peeing on your feet. Or is that just me?

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  4. Doug

    I must confess I’ve been scratching my head at how many injuries (particularly regarding the various CLs) Georgia players seem to suffer. It seems like we endure significantly more than other top-tier programs, though obviously I’m paying a lot more attention to UGA’s injuries than anyone else’s. The 2013 season, too, certainly skews things. We can only hope that was a major outlier.

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    • RocketDawg

      We haven’t had anymore than anyone else, you are just paying more attention to UGA. Plus it hit us hard with key players last year you probably don’t pay attention if the Iowa St back up QB tore his ACL in practice or a cream puff game.

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      • Charles

        This is what I came to the comments to say. I actually did a cursory bit of research on the prevalence of these kinds of injuries at UGA vs other teams, and it appears our rates are very much in line with major football overall.

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        • Russ

          But , but Tereshinki! No degree! Blah blah blah.

          I agree. We have had some bad luck but so have other teams. It’s part of football. That said, it’s always worth making sure we are doing all we can to prevent t injuries, but at the end of the day, you play the game and you take your chance.

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    • Brandon (Version1)

      Its just shit luck imo. It’ll even out…eventually…I hope.

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  5. Bulldawg165

    You posted something last year that stated there is a certain way you can jump and land, with your foot and leg at a certain angle, that pretty much guarantees a torn ACL. That same article also said that most ACL tears happen during the last quarter/period of play because being fatigued significantly contributes to landing/stepping/cutting in the wrong way as opposed to the right way. I thought it was pretty interesting.

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  6. We seem to have a lot of knee injuries to our RB and WR. They don’t really say what ligament is torn. MCl tears are the most common and they happen more frequently to DL than any other position.

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  7. Joe Schmoe

    Maybe you can’t strengthen a ligament, but you can certainly do activities / exercises that weaken it.

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    • If you mean activities such as sports then yeah but I’ve never heard of an exercise that weakens a ligament. Maybe if your doing an exercise incorrectly.

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    • RocketDawg

      Ummm….no. You aren’t going to weaken a ligament from activity/exercise/strength training.

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      • You might not weaken a ligament–but you can build the large muscles nearby (read not the stabilizer muscles) in disproportion with the strength of one. That would over-stress a ligament–I’d think.

        Maybe it was a link here…I don’t know but I read somewhere that it depends on the activity and the repetitiveness of it. They are seeing more ACL injuries now, in younger athletes, because players are specializing earlier and training specifically for that one sport.

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        • Will (The Other One)

          Nutrition and supplements can play a part too: I know my knees stopped popping once I started taking a collagen supp before bed (it also almost completely eliminated eye boogers each morning.)

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        • Chadwick

          Particularly spiking in youth baseball pitchers. Year-round baseball, heck, year-round any sport in youth promotes overuse injuries of the specific muscle/ligament/bones involved.

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  8. Cosmic Dawg

    A better question for Georgia football….(I’m KIDDING).

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  9. Gaskilldawg

    Hasn’t Mitchell grown into a thoughtful, analytical articulate man. He demonstrates the positives about college athletes.

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  10. W Cobb Dawg

    “Mitchell didn’t indicate any huge immediate changes under the new strength staff, other than “they’re hyped up all day” by virtue of their youth.”

    I don’t care if its youth or some other factor, but attitude makes a huge difference in just about any undertaking. And if they are doing ‘anything’ to reduce injuries, its also an improvement. So despite MM’s somewhat indifferent feedback, I think we’re improving with the recent s&c changes.

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  11. 69Dawg

    Your ligaments are your ligaments, not much you can do about them. The muscles that support the use of the ligaments need to be strong. They also do not need to be excessively fatigued. I know MM torn his by jumping to celebrate with TGII and that was just fate. TGII’s tear was, IMHO, due to fatigue in the leg muscles that kept them from properly supporting the ligaments when he cut. He was back from a four week suspension but everyone said that he had worked hard during the four weeks to stay in shape. I seem to recall that he was pulling a lot of those tires along with him. This doesn’t keep you in game shape. He came back and ran 100 yards right off the bat. Then he was getting the tough yards and then he ran to his left and cut up into the hole and that was that. His muscles could not support his leg on the cut and his knee bent in an unnatural way and the ligaments went snap. I think that Chip Kelly and his use of the Australian system that allows the coaches to know how far, fast and how many cuts you make is the future of S&C. Just like concussions get a practice base line on the players and don’t over do it. Especially during the season. I personally think the NFL and CFB should have the sensors during games both for concussion protection and fatigue. Old saying that fatigue makes a coward out of the bravest, so why not stop this madness. Use the damn technology.

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  12. CannonDawg

    I’m glad we’ve got Ron Courson. He gets our injured players healthy and back out on the field with great success, and if he’s now studying new prevention ideas, all the better. He seems to me to be every bit the consummate professional. If I were the parent of a UGA football player, I’d feel better knowing that Courson is only a few steps away.

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    • Chadwick

      I was going to type the same. I know Ron. The players are very lucky to have him at their disposal. He’s thorough, cautious, smart and caring. They couldn’t be in better care. The guy simply lives to give them the best treatment possible. Consummate professional. 100% dedicated to the players. Oh, he’s another thing we co-op’ed from ‘Bama. Lol.

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  13. Dubyadee

    Can I leave this right here?

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