Young Athletes at Greater Risk for Re-Injury after ACL Surgery

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One in three young athletes who undergo ACL surgery experiences re-injury, according to research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (AOSSM) Specialty Day. The study examined the long term success of surgery for patients aged 18 years and younger.

Our study shows that young knees are more prone to re-injury than the adult population when compared to other research in this area," Justin P. Roe, MBBS, FRACS

One in three young athletes who undergo ACL surgery experiences re-injury, according to research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (AOSSM) Specialty Day. The study examined the long term success of surgery for patients aged 18 years and younger.

“We examined survey data from 242 patients who underwent ACL reconstruction between 1993 and 1998,” noted lead author Justin P. Roe, MBBS, FRACS, from North Sydney Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Centre. “Of this group, 75, or 31% sustained a further injury after at least 15 years.”

The study group consisted of 104 females and 138 males at a mean age of 16 years. A total of 168 (69%) reported returning to their pre-injury level of activity following surgery.

“Our study shows that young knees are more prone to re-injury than the adult population when compared to other research in this area - and is the first study to examine the incidence and risk factors for further ACL injury in a solely juvenile population over the long term,” commented Roe. “While surgery still may be the best option for many ACL injuries, it brings to light the important factors physicians must consider when treating the younger population.”

Rugby or soccer was reported as the sport of choice for 48% of the injured athletes participating in the study.

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The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) is a world leader in sports medicine education, research, communication and fellowship, and includes national and international orthopaedic sports medicine leaders. The Society works closely with many other sports medicine specialists, including athletic trainers, physical therapists, family physicians, and others to improve the identification, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports injuries. AOSSM is also a founding partner of the STOP Sports Injuries campaign to prevent overuse and traumatic injuries in kids. For more information on AOSSM or the STOP Sports Injuries campaign, visit http://www.sportsmed.org or http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org

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Lisa Weisenberger
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