Just last week in the NFL two young stars of the competition ruptured the Anterior Cruciate Ligaments (ACL’s). Saquon Barkley and Nick Bosa who were both former #2 draft picks suffered the season ending knee injuries.
Just a couple of weeks ago in the AFL Western Bulldogs young gun Toby Mclean tore his ACL.
The initial prognosis for the recreational athlete is 12 months before returning to your pre level competition. However, for full time professional athletes they may try and target a 9 month return to competition.
There is an elevated risk of re-injuring the ACL with attempting to return to sport prior to 9 months. A recent study concluded that there is a 51% increased risk of re-injury to the ACL for every month prior to the 9 months.
Young athletes who returned to sport before 9 months post ACL reconstruction had a 3-7 x greater risk of a 2nd ACL injury compared to those athletes who completed 9 month of rehab.
The best advice you can receive when coming back from an ACL repair is to be patient. Even if you are feeling confident and comfortable post surgery it is essential to take your time.
It is essential to complete at least 9 months of rehab including plyometrics, agility training and sports specific training. You need to pass a series of strengthening tests and hop/landing tests. Then 1 month of normal contact training.