Factors Influencing Return to Play Following ACL Surgery in Division 1 Football Players

ACL surgery for football playersResearchers led by Dr. Jimmy Daruwalla and colleagues published in the April 2014 in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine looked at factors that influenced return to play for Division 1 college football players after undergoing ACL surgery.
“Return to Play” was defined as a player being able to engage fully in football practice and/ or football games after ACL surgery. Information from 184 college football players was analyzed and the overall return to play rate was 82%.
About three-fourths of the football players were able to return to football at a level of equal or even higher play than they did prior to ACL surgery. A football players depth chart prior to ACL surgery had a significant association with return to play. For example, 95% of football players who were starters returned to play after ACL surgery compared to 73% of players who rarely played.
College football players who were on scholarships also returned to play at a higher rate than those who were not. Years of experience playing college football also had an effect on return to play with 83% of first year students returning to play football following ACL surgery compared with 73% of seniors.
In this particular research, the use of allograft vs. autograft did not have a significant impact on whether college football players returned to play. The performance of a minesectomy also did not have a significant effect on return to playing football.
These research findings suggest that return to play among Division 1 college football players might be higher than what has been found among professional football players. Learn more. 

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