Young Athletes Cleared for Sports Participation After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: How Many Actually Meet Recommended Return-to-Sport Criterion Cutoffs? Toole, Ithurburn, Rauh, et al. Journal of Orthopeic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2017. 

This is an interesting article that highlights what we see often in sports; athletes returning too soon to their respective sport following an ACL tear. When athletes return to their sport too soon they are at a greater risk of a re-tear and are less likely to perform at their previous level. This study looked at how many young athletes actually met the recommended return to sport criteria when they were cleared to return by their surgeon and rehabilitation team. 

The authors had several tests that they used to determine return to sport readiness. These were quadriceps and hamstring strength at greater than or equally to 90% of the uninjured leg, single leg hop tests at greater than or equal to 90% of the uninvolved leg, and a self reported knee function scale. 

The outcomes are pretty staggering. Of the subjects in the study, only 13.9% of athletes that were cleared to return to sport by their surgeons and rehab team actually met the recommended criteria. The research also shows that those who returned to their sport without meeting the recommended criteria were less likely to maintain their level of participation.

So what does this mean? Unfortunately this means that a great majority of athletes are being cleared to return to their sport way earlier then they should be. This also means that most surgeons and physical therapists are likely not performing any reliable tests to determine if their patients met standards to return to sport. 

How GOfit can help: If you have had an ACL injury and you are still having pain and/or difficulty returning to the activity that you love, we have the ability to objectively evaluate your function and develop a treatment plan specifically for you.