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Sports Health. 2019 Jul/Aug;11(4):301-305. doi: 10.1177/1941738119846502. Epub 2019 May 28.

When Is It Safe to Return to Sport After ACL Reconstruction? Reviewing the Criteria.

Author information

1
Jerusalem Sports Medicine Institute, Lerner Sports Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.
2
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences & Physiotherapy at the Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

There is an ever-increasing trend toward sports, fitness, and recreation activities, so the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament sports injuries has increased. Perhaps the greatest challenge for sports clinicians is to return the injured athlete back to his/her original sport at an even greater level of functional ability than preinjury. For this, rigorous and well-researched criteria are needed.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION:

Using medical subject headings and free-text words, an electronic search was conducted up to October 2018. Subject-specific search was based on the terms return to play and return to sport in combination with guidelines, criteria, and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

STUDY DESIGN:

Descriptive review.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level 2.

RESULTS:

Five principal criteria were found, including psychological factors, performance/functional tests, strength tests, time, and modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors.

CONCLUSION:

The psychological readiness of the player is a major factor in successful safe return to sport (SRTS) decision making. Although strength, performance, and functional tests presently form the mainstay of SRTS criteria, there exists very little scientific evidence for their validity. More protection should be provided to athletes with known risk factors. Movement quality is important, if not more important than the quantifiable measures. As a result of the significantly high rerupture rate in young individuals, delayed SRTS should be considered preferably beyond 9 months postsurgery.

KEYWORDS:

ACL reconstruction; clinical decision making; return to sport criteria

PMID:
31136725
PMCID:
PMC6600576
[Available on 2020-05-28]
DOI:
10.1177/1941738119846502
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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