Researchers 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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