May 20, 2021
Study: Confident Athletes Twice as Likely to Suffer 2nd ACL Injury

One-quarter to one-third of young, active patients who undergo anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction experience a second ACL injury after they return to sport (RTS).

New research indicates that young athletes who feel confident about their knee health at the time of medical clearance for sports participation after ACL surgery have a higher likelihood of meeting all RTS criteria related to physical function but also have a higher likelihood of experiencing a second ACL injury within 2 years after RTS.

The study, which included 159 participants with an average age of 17 years, is published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research.

“These data suggest that as health care providers, we may need to re-evaluate the tools we currently use to determine readiness to return to sport after ACL reconstruction in young athletes. In addition, we need to better evaluate the role of confidence in patients as they transition back to sports,” said lead author Mark Paterno, PT, Ph.D., SCS, ATC, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Participants completed RTS testing when cleared to RTS. Success was defined as an International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) score more than or equal to 90 and all limb symmetry index (LSI) scores more than or equal to 90%. Confidence groups were created based on response to the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) Quality of Life subscale. Incidence of second ACL injury was tracked for 24 months after RTS.

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Among the participants that felt confident, 37.7 percent were classified with high knee-related confidence while 26.4 percent met RTS criteria, and 22 percent sustaining a second ACL injury after returning.

Confident participants were more than two times to likely suffer a second ACL injury.

The findings show, as Paterno noted, that the more confident young athletes feel after ACL surgery, the more likely they are to meet RTS criteria, and the more likely they are to suffer a second ACL injury.

To read the full article on young athletes returning from injuries, click here

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