Although most professional hockey players are able to return to play after ACL injury, career length and performance may be significantly decreased compared with a control group, according to results.
Using the National Hockey League Injury Surveillance System, researchers identified 47 players with an ACL injury between 2006 and 2010, and surveyed medical staff members regarding these injuries. Researchers identified a control group that was matched based on performance, career length before injury, age, height and weight.
Compared with the control group, results showed players who had an ACL injury had a shorter average length of time played after injury (2.8 years vs. 4.4 years). Players who had a meniscal injury had a decreased length of career vs. the control group and players with an isolated ACL injury, according to results. Researchers found a decrease in the number of games played for wings and centers in the first full season after injury from 71.2 to 58.2. The number of games played for wings and centers decreased to 59.92 in the second season. Assists and total points decreased from 20.3 to 13.8 for forwards and from 35.2 to 25.9 for wings in the first season after injury, while assists and goals decreased to 10 for both forwards and wings in the second season after injury. Researchers noted a decrease in the per-season averages of goals, assists and total points in players who experienced an ACL injury compared with controls.
Overall, results showed subsequent failure of reconstruction in 10.6% of players and a total reoperation rate of 20%. According to researchers, 10.6% of players did not return to play and 8.5% were unable to return to play for a full season. – by Casey Tingle
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.