Conclusions: Return to Play (RTP) after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction (ACLR) in competitive high school and college football is only ~64%. Return to the same performance High School – 42% College 42%.

Fear was the reason not to RTP High School – 53% College 44%. Played at the next level after ACLR High School 12% College 14%To our knowledge, this is the first report of football specific RTP for amateur athletes and to identify fear as a modifiable risk factor to improve RTP in competitive football at these levels of play. [AOSSM 2012 Specialty Day, Return to High School and College Level Football Following ACL Reconstruction by Kirk A. McCullough MD1; Kevin Phelps MD2; Kurt P. Spindler MD3; Matthew J. Matava MD4; Richard D. Parker MD5; Warren R. Dunn MD,MPH2; MOON Group MDs2; Emily K. Reinke PhD6, Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute, Sports Medicine, Sports Medicine Center, Nashville,TN, Washington University Orthopedics Chesterfield, MO, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation Cleveland, OH

“Recent research suggests that there’s been a dramatic increase in the rate of ACL injuries in youth athletes over the past decade, at least partially attributable to the growth of year-round sports programs.”

“At the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Specialty Day this past Saturday (referring to study above), two separate teams of researchers presented studies about how anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in youth athletes could hinder or end their sports careers.”

“One study, based out of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, examined how often youth football players returned to the field after suffering ACL injuries. Based on their findings, the authors asserted that fewer football players may be resuming their careers than might otherwise be expected.”

“While return to play may be perceived as the central concern for a competitive athlete recovering from an injury, it is easy to ignore psychological factors keeping a player off the field,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Kurt P. Spindler.

“Fear of re-injury and concern over decreased performance may hinder even the most physically capable athlete.” [Studies Examine Crippling Impact of ACL Injuries in Youth Athletes By Bryan Toporek on February 14, 2012]


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