Free ACL Injury Prevention Program helps athletes build strength and knowledge to stay healthy


The program is offered through The Orthopaedic Institute at St. Elizabeth

Across fields and courts, inside locker rooms and gyms, ACL tears affect athletes everywhere. And while it’s one of the most dreaded injuries for student-athletes and weekend warriors, few free resources are available to help educate and prevent ACL tears.

That’s why The Orthopaedic Institute at St. Elizabeth has launched a new ACL Injury Prevention Program. This free program was designed to help athletes across the region improve performance and compete safely.

“The goal of the program is to help athletes increase strength and learn new skills to reduce their risk of an ACL tear,” says Adam Metzler, MD, a sports medicine specialist and orthopaedic surgeon with OrthoCincy. “At the end of the day, we all want the same thing — to keep athletes safe and on the field or court giving it their all to the sports they love.”

The Orthopaedic Institute is a partnership between St. Elizabeth Healthcare, OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, and St. Elizabeth Physicians. The goal of the Orthopaedic Institute is to improve the care and delivery of musculoskeletal medicine. It supports student-athletes, professionals and active adults by focusing on quality, outcomes, efficiency and patient satisfaction

How common are ACL injuries?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sits in the center of the knee. It helps keep leg bones (the tibia and femur) from sliding forward and rotating. Having a strong and stable knee can help athletes run, twist, kick and cut without injury. But a knee that isn’t healthy or stable can give out, causing an ACL tear.

Knee injuries and ACL tears are one of the most common injuries for athletes, especially student-athletes and females. Consider these stats:

  • ACL tears make up more than 50% of knee injuries in the U.S., affecting more than 200,000 people each year.[1]
  • High school athletes have a 1 in 100 chance of tearing their ACL.
  • Female athletes are four to six times more likely to tear their ACL than male athletes.

ACL injuries typically happen with activities that involve cutting, jumping, landing and pivoting — sports like volleyball, football, basketball and soccer. But ACL injuries can happen in any sport, and most of them don’t happen because of physical contact.

“It is important for athletes to learn how to move correctly and understand proper technique,” says Dr. Metzler. “The ACL Injury Prevention Program is designed to help reduce the rate of ACL injuries. It provides the resources athletes need to gain strength and stability, perform at their peak and remain agile and healthy all year long.” 

What the ACL Injury Prevention Program offers

The St. Elizabeth ACL Injury Prevention Program features online resources and instructional videos with stretches, agility drills and exercises that help athletes prevent injury. Focus areas include:

  • Dynamic functional warm-ups that progressively increase blood flow and gradually warm up muscles. These drills help boost performance and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Neuromuscular balance exercises that improve control and challenge muscles to work together effectively.
  • Jump training/landing stabilization techniques that teach athletes how to properly move and use their muscles to absorb the forces of jumping and landing.
  • Plyometric exercises that help athletes develop power and strength.
  • Strengthening exercises that allow athletes to build muscle and stability in their core and leg muscles.

Both athletes and coaches can also access a detailed pre-season workout program and an in-season maintenance program[ to reinforce techniques. Each program includes a specific workout regimen with videos showing how to do the exercises and stretches. “St. Elizabeth is proud to offer this ACL Injury Prevention Program, a program that is free of charge and accessible to anyone, which is unique to the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region,” says Karen Tepe, director of Orthopaedics and Neurosciences at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “By combining our sports medicine, orthopaedic and physical therapy expertise with robust exercise programs, we hope to help more athletes compete safely.”

Learn more or make an appointment

For more information on the ACL Injury Prevention Program or St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s sports medicine program[, email