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HEALTH: ACL tears in children becoming commonplace

An injury epidemic could be leading kids to arthritis and other problems as they grow up.

More and more children are suffering ACL injuries.
Dr. Richard Besser has more on what can be done to keep young athletes safe.

Linsey Vonn dropped out of the olympics
Tom Brady lost most of a season
It's an injury professional athletes fear - an ACL tear.  Now imagine that happening to your knee - in elementary school.

When Caleb Seymour was just 7 years old he took a bad hit playing tackle football
Caleb Seymour: "I went against the biggest, biggest person on the team."

Besser: "whoa."
Isabela loves gymnastics - but she blew out her knee at nine.
Mother Angela Owens: "Shocked, because it was something not even  on my radar. This is what happens in football players."

Besser: "Did it hurt a lot?"
Isabella: "Yes"
Besser: "It  did, yeah."

She's spent the last year in physical therapy after ACL surgery.
Dr. Green, HHS: "Now it seems like there is an epidemic, we're seeing it  almost weekly,  a really young child coming in"

The main stabilizing ligament of the knee - the ACL -- isn't strong enough
To take the strain of repeated movements all by itself.

Kids who play the same sport for hours every day are at risk -  and girls
Even more so --- 6 times more likely to tear their ACL than boys

Dr. Green : "There's  an increased chance for arthritis later in life."
But new data says there's a simple solution-- a set of exercises that strengthen the muscles around the knee. And guess what-- by doing them, you can reduce the risk by almost 75%

And a little athlete like Caleb Seymour,  wouldn't tear his ACL in the first place.

He wore his hero, Tom Brady's, jersey - Number 12 -- to his year of rehab sessions. And then --we introduced him to his idol.

Tom Brady: "How are you?  You're Caleb?"
Caleb: "Uh-huh."
Tom Brady: "I'm Tom.  Nice to meet you.  We heard you hurt your knee?
How did you do that?"
Caleb Seymour: "Playing football."
Tom Brady: "Playing football.  It's a rough game.  Well, guess who else tore his knee?"
Caleb Seymour: "You."
Tom Brady: "Me.  Like any rehabilitation, you got to just put your mind
To it and hope that it gets really strong so you can get back out there running with your friends.""
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