A study published online in The American Journal of Sports Medicine examines return to play issues among National Football League (NFL) players who undergo anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. 

The authors compared information on 38 defensive players who underwent ACL reconstruction—28 of whom returned to play at least one NFL game—against a group of matched controls. They found that 23 players successfully returned to play at least half a season (eight games). However, returning athletes in the ACL reconstruction cohort retired significantly sooner and more often after surgery than their matched controls. In addition, in seasons leading up to their injury, athletes who successfully returned to play started a greater percentage of their games and made more solo tackles per game compared with athletes in the ACL reconstruction group who did not return to play and compared with healthy control players. After the season of surgery, athletes in the ACL reconstruction group who returned to play decreased their number of games started and number of solo tackles per game, while their matched controls experienced no significant decreases. Learn more...

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