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Clin J Sport Med. 2018 Aug 28. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000662. [Epub ahead of print]

Return to Competition After Surgery for Herniated Lumbar Disc in Professional Football Players.

Author information

1
FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, Isokinetic Medical Group, Turin, Italy.
2
Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.
3
Isokinetic Medical Group, Education and Research Department, FIFA Medical Center of Excellence, Bologna, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the prevalence and outcomes of surgery for lumbar disc herniation in professional football players.

DESIGN:

Retrospective case series.

SETTING:

Sports rehabilitation center.

PARTICIPANTS:

A period of 10 seasons of the Italian Football First League (Serie A) was retrospectively investigated. Thirty-three teams (for a total of 1960 players) took turns in the 10 seasons, and 42 team doctors were requested to provide information about the number of players who underwent surgery for lumbar disc herniation.

INTERVENTION:

Survey distributed to team doctors.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Prevalence and match incidence of the lumbar discectomy, proportion of players returning to competition after surgery, recovery time and preintervention and postintervention number of appearances in official matches were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Eleven players underwent the surgical intervention during the considered period. The prevalence of the surgical treatment was 0.6%, whereas the match incidence was 0.09 cases/1000 match hours. All players returned to competitions 6.0 (3.5-7.7) months after surgery, with no significant difference between different roles. The number of appearances in official matches was comparable during the seasons before and after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS:

The lumbar discectomy must be considered a rare surgical procedure performed in professional football players. All players returned to competitions after surgery. The postintervention number of appearances in official matches was comparable with the preintervention one.

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