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J Appl Biomech. 2012 Aug;28(4):366-73.

Preoperative predictors for noncopers to pass return to sports criteria after ACL reconstruction.

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  • 1Physical Therapy Department and Biomechanics and Movement Sciences Program, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA.


Less than 50% of athletes pass criteria to return to sports (RTS) 6 months after ACL reconstruction (ACLR). Using data on 38 noncopers, we hypothesized that preoperative age, quadriceps strength index (QI), and knee flexion moments (KFM) during gait would predict the ability to pass/fail RTS criteria and that preoperative quadriceps strength gains would be predictive of passing RTS criteria. Gait analysis and strength data were collected before and after a preoperative intervention and 6 months after ACLR. Age, QI, and KFM each contributed to the predictability to pass or fail RTS criteria 6 months after ACLR. Collectively, the variables predict 69% who would pass and 82% who would fail RTS criteria 6 months after ACLR. Younger athletes who have symmetrical quadriceps strength and greater KFM were more likely to pass RTS criteria. Further, 63% of those who increased preoperative quadriceps strength passed RTS criteria, whereas 73% who did not failed. Increasing quadriceps strength in noncopers before ACLR seems warranted.

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