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A Lady Cougar dribbles down the court on a fast-break she goes in for a lay up she shoots and when she lands her knee gives way and she falls to the floor gripping the knee This has become and all to familiar picture in female athletics in recent years Over the last decade and a half reports of injuries to knee ligaments shot up by 172 with a large portion of those injuries belonging to female athletes The most common ligament of the knee to be injured is the anterior cruciate ligament ACL Resent studies show that anterior cruciate ligament tears are six to eight times more likely to occur in female athletes than in their male counterparts Knee injuries in females come most often from non-contact situations such as planting and cutting hyperextension and hyper-flexion This increase risk for women has sparked interest in reaching the cause and setting up training programs to reduce these ACL injuriesMany ideas about why women have a higher risk for ACL injuries exist The four ligaments of the knee lend support and stability to the knee Ligaments alone do not stabilize the knee the hamstrings and the gastrocnemius muscles help to reduce the stress on the ACL and support the knee complex Studies at the University of Michigan show a functional imbalance between quadriceps and hamstring muscles Due to this imbalance females activate the quadriceps and not the hamstrings and gastrocnemius muscles to counteract the forward movement of the tibia on the femur This imbalance tends to agree with research that states that women have a lower ham-to-quad strength ratio than that of men The ratio for leading female athletes is less than 50 on average while the normal ratio is approximately 70 This decreased ratio shows that the hamstrings of female athletes are slower to react to forces applied above the knee than that of the quadriceps muscles therefore increasing
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