Living Well with Michelle: ACL Play it Safe Program

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A new injury prevention program is helping athletes reduce the risk of ACL injuries and improve overall performance. 

Sports Innovation national director Trent Nessler designed the ACL Play it Safe Program with Champion Sports Medicine

“The two things that we measure is…not only how much does your knee move,” said Nessler. “But also at what speed does it move.”

The technology uses motion sensors to analyze form and measure single-limb stability during a series of exercises.

“So one of the things that we’ve actually found is that by addressing these bio-mechanical factors that put athletes at risk for injury, we also see that it improves their vertical jump, their sprint speed, power output,” said Nessler. 

This program has been used to identify problematic bio-mechanics in more than 13,000 athletes across the United States. 

Former Jacksonville State University running back Earvin McKenzie is one of those athletes. By monitoring his squat motion using the ACL Play it Safe Program, he was able to properly adjust his posture to help alleviate stress on his lower back. 

“Because when I’m moving forward, all that pressure’s going to my lower back,” said McKenzie. “But when my back is straight in certain movements everything is going to my glutes and my quads.” 

For many athletes, career longevity is crucial. 

“You want to stay healthy throughout your whole career,” said McKenzie. 

More than 1,000 athletes workout at D1 Sports Training in Vestavia Hills each week. The facility’s general manager, Chris Wolfe, said the ACL Play it Safe Program is a preventative measure for athletes to maintain optimal body function. 

“We’re gonna get you stronger, faster, quicker,” said Wolfe. “But we do that by working on proper body mechanics.” 

The injury prevention program has already partnered with local athletic programs including Lawson State Community College. Individual athletes can also sign up for the program

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