When you are a parent, you want the best for your kids. You want them to experience life, grow as a person and prepare for the future. If you are a football parent, you understand the balancing act between letting your son play football and the inherent risks involved in this high impact/high contact sport.
The Best Knee Brace for High School Football
According to an abstract in the national center for biotechnology, football had the highest knee injury rate in high school athletes, followed by women's soccer.
The most commonly involved structure was the medial collateral ligament (reported in 36.1% of knee injuries), followed by the patella/patellar tendon (29.5%), anterior cruciate ligament (25.4%), meniscus (23.0%), lateral collateral ligament (7.9%), and posterior cruciate ligament (2.4%).
If you child is very competitive and looking at pursuing football in college, then protecting the knee is paramount during high school. During my 30 years in this business, I have had many a phone call from a concerned parent, where their child has suffered a football injury and needs to continue to compete as he moves forward into the next level.
The decisions must be made collectively with the child's physician, coach, trainer and parent. All must be involved in the decision making process. Many high schools do not allow certain metal framed braces during active play for fear of injuring apposing players. Many knee braces will offer no protection due to its style or purpose.
So the question is: What is the best knee brace for high school football?
Which knee brace should I get to protect my son from injury? Will my son wear it? Should it be custom made? Is there a preventative brace that will keep his chances of college football (and scholarship) a reality?
The answer is The DonJoy Armor with Fource Point Hinge! Well sort of.
There is no "Best Brace" as everyone is a little different in terms of height and weight and position. But DonJoy appears as the best brace to keep your child's knee intact and hopefully prevent a career ending injury. I said "hopefully" as accidents do happen that no brace can prevent.
Lets look at this knee brace and I will explain my thought processes. First of all, over the plus 20 years of experience I have had, there has been countless communication between parents, coaches and trainers from high school, college and universities. Reviewing the players health status, injury, doctor diagnosis and recommendations, and players ultimate goals, the DonJoy Armor was the most frequently dispensed and utilized knee brace for football. The runner up was the custom made donjoy Defiance, which essentially is the same brace but molded to the players leg and much more expensive and out of the reach of most high school parents.
There has been some great improvements in the Armor over the last decade, with the addition of the new FourcePoint hinge design, creating an indestructible shield of proven protection and uncompromising strength.
Take a look at the video below that bests describes what the FoucePoint Hinge does.
The FourcePoint Hinge utilizes a spring mechanism to apply a gradually increasing amount of resistance during knee extension. The resistance reduces the time spent near full extension, or in the at risk position, increases the posterior load applied by the brace on the tibia to prevent anterior tibial translation, and gives patients a more natural gait by applying progressive resistance before reaching a firm end point.
The resistance can start at flexion angles between 25° and 65° and engages during the last 25° of extension prior to coming to a hard stop. Five different resistance levels are available to meet rehab protocol specifications and provide comfort.
The DonJoy Armor is made of an aircraft aluminum alloy that is both very rigid but lightweight. It is not the lightest weight metal frame out there, but your playing football. You need strength! Since the new hinges are flush with the frame of the knee brace, you don't need deflectors on the inside of the brace (to keep the hinges from locking together). This was especially crucial for skiing.
The biggest complaint about this knee support (like many metal or carbon fiber braces) was slippage and rotation. Typically this occurred when the brace was too long for the player. The DonJoy Armor Fource Point is approximately 15" in length. Utilizing an undersleeve lessened this complaint, and their are anti-migration straps available to keep the brace from sliding down.
The Armor is designed to support and protect players from moderate to severe ACL instabilities, recovery from ACL reconstructions, MCL or LCL instabilities, meniscus injury and hyperextension prevention. The Armor FourcePoint is not applicable for PCL injuries (you must wear the Armor Action PCL version) or go custom.
This knee support is rated for moderate to extreme sports demand. If you have a 250 lb lineman coming at your knee with his helmet, you will understand why this knee brace is popular. It provides a degree of protection that gives the athlete the confidence they need to play, and play to their potential.
There are other knee braces that are fabric with hinges on the sides. These are useful for lesser injuries or when metal framed braces are not allowed to be worn during play. Obviously they will not provide the same level of protection, but something is better than nothing. Check out the DonJoy Performance Bionic Fullstop ACL Knee Brace.
So if you are looking for the most supportive and rigid knee brace on the market that can withstand the most brutal forces directed at your knee joint, the DonJoy Armor is your ultimate choice.