About This Project

Despite consistent investigation, the risk factors responsible for non-contact Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury continue to remain ambiguous and prevention programs fail to be effective. The goal of this study is to build a comprehensive profile of the ACL-injured athlete in order to create a better prevention protocol. Once we find out which factors best predict injury, they will be used to create a prediction equation to best identify risk for ACL injury in female soccer athletes.

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What is the context of this research?

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries are common in female athletes and often result in long-term consequences like Osteoarthritis. It is likely that the underlying mechanism responsible for ACL injury is a result of several different factors. No study has examined both physiological and biomechanical risk factors for injury and how the combination of risk factors may affect female soccer players. Additionally, limited information exists on the extent to which these factors change from pre to post season.

We care so much about healthy knees that our efforts don't stop at research. In addition to the research, we will be hosting a 10-week ACL injury-prevention summer clinic for female athletes ages 12 and up.

To find out more, click here: http://www.lizletchford.com/projectacl/

What is the significance of this project?

ACL tears are rampant in the women's soccer community. First and foremost, we want to educate and strengthen these athletes, allowing them the joy of playing their sport without fear of injury.

This study will be the very first to build a comprehensive profile of the non-contact ACL-injured athlete. We are excited to create a more effective and comprehensive prevention protocol to better recognize those athletes who may be at high risk for ACL injury. The creation of a more accurate profile of the non-contact ACL-injured athlete may lead to a decrease in the instance of ACL injury in female soccer athletes.

What are the goals of the project?

We will be studying 200 female soccer players over the course of a single soccer season in order to create a comprehensive risk profile of the ACL-injured athlete. All risk factors will be evaluated both before and after the playing season. At the end of the season, we will compare the data from uninjured athletes with those who tore their ACL and evaluate the most influential risk factors. We believe we can develop a meaningful prediction model based on these findings in order to decrease the instance of ACL injury.


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The data we collect from individual blood samples will provide us with evidence of risk factors for ACL injury, including genetic factors.

In order to collect blood samples from our 200 subjects, we will need to purchase blood collection supplies. The majority of our budget will be allotted to the assessment of the blood factors. These laboratory assessments are both costly and time-consuming, but necessary in determining the underlying risk factors for injury.

With the increase in injury to female athletes, it is important to conduct this research. With this knowledge, we will be able to create the most effective ACL-injury prevention program to date.

Meet the Team

Liz Letchford
Liz Letchford
Doctoral Graduate Assistant


University of Hawaii
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Team Bio

We are bridging the gap between clinical research and laboratory research. The study will be a collaboration among a team of scientists representing multiple disciplines. We are partnering with John A Burns Medical School, multiple renowned orthopedic surgeons and Athletic Trainers in both Hawaii and California.

Liz Letchford

I am a Certified Athletic Trainer and PhD student at the University of Hawaii who is constantly amazed at what the human body can accomplish. In addition to collaborating on research and philanthropy projects, I am also teaching several undergraduate courses at the University of Hawaii's Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science. I am passionate about the health of my community and am currently working on developing an educational program in the city of San Francisco to bring movement knowledge to elementary and middle school students. In my free time, I enjoy experimenting with healthy recipes, adventuring throughout the beautiful state of California and the magic of bringing creative ideas to life.

Additional Information

As a thank-you for donations from gracious supporters, we will be hosting Project ACL, an ACL-prevention strengthening clinic for female athletes ages 12 and up.

The program will be designed and led by injury prevention expert and Certified Athletic Trainer, Liz Letchford. Liz is a PhD Student in Exercise Physiology at the University of Hawaii and one of the Bay Area's top exercise specialists. She has a passion for women's health and is currently conducting her research in the area of ACL injury and prevention.

Project ACL will use the latest, scientifically developed techniques to develop muscular strength and endurance and educate the girls on correct movement and technique. Participants will gain the advantage of body-awareness and decreased risk of injury.

Project ACL is a 10-week program designed to:

  • Evaluate and educate young athletes on their personal risk for injury
  • Establish cognitive and proprioceptive movement awareness
  • Decrease risk for athletic injury by strengthening and conditioning the musculoskeletal system
  • Encourage a positive mindset, set realistic goals, and be part of a team of caring and supportive female athletes

For a donation of $300, your athlete will join Liz and the Project ACL team on a 10-week journey to a healthier and stronger body.

This opportunity is not limited to those who are in a good financial situation. For every $1000 raised, we will sponsor an athlete from an underserved community to join the fun.

Training sessions will be held Saturday mornings at 10am at Fort Mason in San Francisco beginning May 7, 2016.

To find out more, click here: http://www.lizletchford.com/projectacl/

Project Backers

  • 76Backers
  • 108%Funded
  • $8,565Total Donations
  • $112.70Average Donation
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