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Arthroscopy. 2019 Aug 19. pii: S0749-8063(19)30500-6. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2019.05.052. [Epub ahead of print]

High Risk of Further ACL Injury in a 10-Year Follow-up Study of ACL-Reconstructed Soccer Players in the Swedish National Knee Ligament Registry.

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Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Stockholm Sports Trauma Research Center, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:
Department of Orthopaedics, Västmanland Regional Hospital, Västerås, Sweden.



To follow up on soccer players 10 years after a primary anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction to find out how many players returned to play soccer, what influenced their decision, and if there are any differences in additional ACL injuries (graft failure and/or contralateral ACL injury) between those who returned to play and those who did not.


The study cohort consists of 1661 soccer players from the Swedish National Knee Ligament Registry. A questionnaire was sent to each player regarding their return to play and additional knee injuries that may have occurred 10 years after their primary ACL. The results are based on the 684 responders. Data such as age, sex, surgical procedural data, associated injuries, patient-reported outcome measures, and additional knee surgeries were collected from the registry.


In this study, 51% returned to play soccer. For those who did not return to play, the primary reason was knee related (65.4% of the cases). The most common knee-related reasons for not returning were pain and/or instability (50%; n = 109), followed by fear of reinjury (32%; n = 69). Players who return to soccer have a significantly higher risk of additional ACL injury. Of the players who returned to play soccer, 28.7% (odds ratio [OR] 2.3, P < .001) had additional ACL injury, 9.7% (OR 2.9, P < .001) had a graft failure and 20.6% (OR 2.1, P < .001) had a contralateral ACL injury.


Players that return to soccer have a significantly higher risk of sustaining further ACL injury. Only half of the soccer players return to play after ACL reconstruction, and in two-thirds of those who did not return, the reason was knee related. The high risk of sustaining additional knee injury is of serious concern to the player's future knee health and should be considered when deciding on a return to play.


Level III retrospective case-control study.

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