BOSTON (CBS) – Medfield’s Krista Pinciaro has been playing soccer for as long as she can remember. But her love of the game was not enough to keep her from getting hurt at just 12 years old.

“I was running. My knee went one way my leg went the other. It was a horrible sensation.”

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That injury was a painful ACL tear. After a long recovery process Krista got back in the game and got hurt again. She tore the meniscus in her knee, twice. Krista turned to Boston Children’s Hospital and surgeon Dr. Martha Murray for all three of her knee surgeries.

“Most of these are high powered athletes who go 150-percent all the time. They get injured and no longer can participate in their sport and that’s really devastating for them,” says Dr. Murray. She is co-director with Dr. Kate Ackerman of the new Female Athlete Program at Children’s Hospital.

Teenage girls typically don’t grow muscle as quickly as the boys leading to a much higher rate of injury. Girls are 5 to 8 times more likely to suffer an ACL tear than the boys. And these injuries spike between the ages of 15 and 19.

At Children’s Hospital a team of specialists create customized care for athletes just like Krista.

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Dr. Murray says that when these young girls come in with a knee injury it “gives us a unique opportunity to intervene in other areas that we know are important for these young athletes where they might not otherwise get this information.”

Vital information like nutrition, bone health, and how to prevent future injuries.

After a year of rehab and strength training Krista was able to return to the field just in time for senior year. She even scored the winning goal in the state championship game.

“This was probably the best year of my life,” says Krista.

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For athletes, parents, coaches, or anyone interested in learning more about strategies to keep female athletes healthy, Children’s Hospital is hosting a conference on June 8th & 9th. 

David Wade