Article

Return to sport after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in professional soccer players

The Knee (Impact Factor: 1.7). 06/2014; 21(3). DOI: 10.1016/j.knee.2014.02.005

ABSTRACT Background
The purpose of the study is to investigate time to return to sport and rate of professional sport activity in a homogenous group of competitive soccer players 4 years after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Methods
Twenty-one male professional soccer players (mean age 22.9 ± 5.4 years) undergone non-anatomical double-bundle autologous hamstrings ACL reconstruction and followed the same rehabilitative protocol. Clinical evaluation was performed preoperatively and at 3, 6 and 12-month follow-up. Data regarding return to train and official match, sport activity, complications and revision surgeries were collected at 4-year follow-up.

Results
Laxity test (KT-2000) and total KOOS mean score resulted significantly improved from preoperative status to the 12-month follow-up (p < 0.0001). The KOOS mean value showed a significant progressive improvement form preoperative status to 6-month follow-up (p = 0.0010) as well, while the values collected at 6 and 12-month follow-up resulted comparable (p = 0.2349). They return to official match 186 ± 53 days after surgery. After 12 months, 95% came back to the same activity level performed before injury. Four years after ACL reconstruction, 15 patients (71%) were still playing competitive soccer. One patient (5%) underwent ACL failure and subsequent revision.

Conclusions
The ACL reconstruction with presented technique followed by patient-tailored rehabilitation, allowed 95% and 62% professional male soccer players to return to the same sport activity 1 year and 4 years after surgery respectively. However, 71% were still able to play competitive soccer at final follow-up. Clinical scores were restored after 6 months.

Level of evidence
IV, case series.

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