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Knee. 2019 Jan;26(1):142-148. doi: 10.1016/j.knee.2018.10.004. Epub 2018 Nov 16.

The negative impact of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in professional male footballers.

Author information

1
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 676 North St. Clair St., Suite 1350, Chicago, IL, 60661, USA.
2
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 676 North St. Clair St., Suite 1350, Chicago, IL, 60661, USA. Electronic address: cort.lawton125@gmail.com.
3
Loyola University Chicago, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, 1032 West Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL, 60660, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Soccer is one of the most common international sports in which ACL injuries occur, with previous studies reporting high return-to-play rates following ACL reconstruction (ACLR). Return-to-play analysis fails to take into consideration how effective a player remains once returning to competition. The aims of this study are to provide a large-scale international analysis of return-to-play and player performance statistics among professional soccer athletes following ACLR.

METHODS:

Using publicly available sources, professional soccer athletes who have undergone ACLR between the 1996 and 2015 seasons were identified. Player metrics including statistical performance, recovery time, and return-to-play rates were analyzed both before and after reconstruction. Furthermore, player performance statistics during each of three consecutive seasons post-ACLR were compared.

RESULTS:

A total of 176 athletes who underwent ACLR were included in this study. The return-to-play rate was 93.2% (164 athletes). Cumulative post-surgical statistical analysis of ACLR players demonstrated fewer games/season, minutes/season, minutes/game, goals/season, and more fouls/season following ACLR (p < 0.04). Analysis of player performance statistics suggests that athletes do not return to their baseline number of games/season and minutes/game until two and three seasons post-ACLR, respectively. At three seasons post-ACLR, athletes are still starting fewer games/season and scoring fewer goals/90 min (p < 0.04).

CONCLUSION:

Return-to-play rate is high following ACLR; however, athletes exhibit poorer statistical performance, especially in the first few seasons upon return. Our data shows that athletes continue to start fewer games/season and score fewer goals/90 min at three seasons post-ACLR.

KEYWORDS:

Anterior cruciate ligament; Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction; Major League Soccer; Player performance; Professional soccer; Return-to-play

PMID:
30449615
DOI:
10.1016/j.knee.2018.10.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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