basketball, soccer and football player

Jan 15, 2020 / Sports Medicine

All ACL's Are Not The Same

In a recent study, our sports medicine team reviewed the differences of several aspects of injury and recovery in athletes playing three different sports: soccer, football and basketball. The project analyzed 185 cases of pediatric and adolescent (12-17 years) athletes who sustained a sport-related anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. The findings suggest that there are a few differences between the sports that have not been previously described.
  • More than 80% of these athletes returned to their same sport.
  • Football and basketball players are more likely to return to their same sport compared to their soccer counterparts in this study.
  • Soccer players score better with mental coping and freedom from worry two years after the procedure.
  • Football players may take longer to pass functional testing to be allowed to return to contact sports. However, they are also at a lower risk of a secondary ACL injury.
  • Soccer players are more likely to sustain a contralateral (opposite side) secondary ACL injury.
Studies like these continue to help parents, athletes and providers understand trends that might affect treatment planning and post-recovery decisions. This encouraging progress inspires our team to develop more questions and studies. As one of several investigators on this study, Philip L. Wilson, M.D., says, “Recognizing that a particular sport may predict trends in psychological response to ACL treatment, makes us want to know more.” This is the magic of clinical researchers; they have personal experience treating these patients and want to know how to do it better.

The summary of this study, All ACL's are not the Same: Sports Specific Differences in Presentation and Response Surrounding Pediatric and Adolescent ACL Reconstruction, is being shared with the Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine Society at the annual meeting. Projects are selected for this opportunity by a scientific program planning committee reviewing all submissions from across the country. In many cases, attendees discuss these project summaries and collaborate in multi-center groups to form new projects.

Learn more about our research in ACL injuries in young athletes. 

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