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      Number of sports injuries among kids increasing

      Tearing an ACL is a commonsports injury. What's not common is when the athlete who tears it is only 13years old.

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      Steven Holmquist lives andbreathes soccer but for several months he couldn't play after suffering a majorinjury.

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      "I had taken a shot andwas going to make sure the goalie didn't drop it, because he had earlier in thegame, and I'd scored off that. I was planted and I stopped and my knee justhyperextended. I was out," said Steven.

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      When Steven says he wasout - he was unconscious. He woke up to find out he had torn his ACL, as wellas both menisci.{}

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      Orthopedic surgeon Dr. TadPruitt was not surprised.

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      "We're seeing a lot more ACLtears in younger athletes especially in what we call skeletal immatureadolescents. Those are the kids that are still in the rapid stage of growth,but have not completed their growth. They haven't achieved their final height."

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      Dr. Pruitt attributes theincrease in injuries to the higher level of play the kids are competing in atearlier ages. The risk can come with consequence.

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      "If you're 25 and you havepart of your meniscus removed, it may not be that big of a deal. But if you're13 or 14 and you have to have that same surgery, that's pretty much certainlygoing to lead to some arthritis down the road."

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      Dr. Pruitt says there'snot a lot you can do to prevent ACL injuries outside of playing on propersurfaces and wearing proper equipment. He says some research that suggestshamstring strengthening exercises may help prevent ACL injuries.

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      After months of rehab Stevennow wears a brace, but is back on the field and has no plans on slowing down.

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      "You gonna take soccer,you going to play as long as you can. As long as I can," said Steven.

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      Dr. Pruitt says kids' injuries are morecommon in the summertime, which we are headed into right now. He says make sureyour kids have the proper safety equipment, teach them common sense, and putthem in the right environment to stay safe.

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