Safe Return to Play Following ACL Reconstruction in Young Athletes Current Concept Review

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Zachary Stinson
Jennifer Beck
Aristides Cruz
Matt Ellington
Curtis VandenBerg
Sasha Carsen
Stephanie Mayer
Allison Crepeau

Abstract

In order to reduce the risk of a second ACL injury following primary ACL reconstruction in young athletes, return to play (RTP) strategies are implemented that utilize temporal, psychological, and functional benchmarks. This strategy should be discussed with patients and their social support group prior to surgery in order to set proper expectations. Physiologically, time is needed for both graft maturation and incorporation as well as neuromuscular recovery. To monitor readiness for return to sport, validated measurement tools should be utilized along with functional assessments to address neuromuscular deficiencies. Patient reported outcome measures and psychological readiness should also be taken into account when assessing athletes’ readiness to return to play.  As athletes transition back to sport, ACL injury prevention training programs should be implemented on an ongoing basis. There remains insufficient evidence to support the routine use of functional ACL bracing to prevent ACL re-injury.

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Section
Sports