Veteran Shock Trainer Laura Ramus Discusses The Process of Jumping

Girls Can Jump

Knee injuries are commonplace in sports and can often be devastating to an athletes’ career. Approximately 250,000 athletes are sidelined each year as a result of tearing their anterior cruciate ligament. While these types of injuries are highly visible in the NFL or the NBA, the vast majority of ACL tears happen to women between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five.

What’s even more surprising is that the bulk of these injuries occur in non-contact sports. Last September, Shock forward Swin Cash tore her ACL after twisting her knee in a collision. While Cash underwent successful surgery, the injury kept her out for the remainder of last season.

As a seven-year veteran trainer for the WNBA’s Detroit Shock and Clinical Director of Michigan Hand and Sport Rehabilitation Center, Laura Ramus has seen her fair share of knee injuries. In 17 years, Ramus has worked with approximately 300 athletes with knee injuries. Ramus has also worked as a high school girl’s volleyball coach, a personal trainer, and an in-home physical therapist. “As a physical therapist, I saw a great need for attention in this area. Female athletes are trained the same as male athletes, yet females face a four to five times greater risk of knee injuries than males,” Ramus said.

In an effort of inform female athletes about training to help prevent knee injuries, Ramus launched www.girlscanjump.com in 1999. The website is specifically targeted to female basketball, volleyball, and soccer players, where repetitive running, jumping and landing put athletes at risk for knee injuries. Ramus’ motivation for starting the website comes from personal experience, “In high school, I had a friend with a knee injury, and I saw the impact that it had on her as a collegiate athlete.”

One special element of the website that Ramus provides is “How to Jump” training, or plyometrics. “Learning how to jump is a process. Before a baby can walk, he must scoot and crawl. To learn how to jump, an athlete must first learn how to use the correct muscles and have a base strength level,” Ramus explains. Proper jumping technique not only helps to prevent injury, but also can assist in optimizing an athlete’s performance. GirlsCanJump.com also features a number of videos for sale dedicated to warm-up, training, and conditioning methods. The Shock’s own Barbara Farris, as well as former Shock player Dominique Canty are featured in some of the videos.

Ramus also goes beyond simply providing training tips and research findings on her website. For the last four years, Ramus has been conducting interactive educational sessions across the country. She also oversees GirlsCanJump camps in seven cities, with plans to open fifty locations by the end of 2006. Female athletes of all ages need professional training, and the camps are hands-on method of teaching female athletes to realize their potential. All camps will be staffed by a professional trainer, an athlete in their off-season, or a retired athlete. Farris has helped out as a demonstrator, and Ramus hopes to have Cash involved, since she has been recovering from a knee injury.