One of the most common injuries suffered by NFL players is an ACL tear, which usually requires surgery to repair. ACL surgery reconstructs the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the center of the knee, which connects the shin bone (tibia) to the thigh bone (femur). Replacement tissue from the patient or a donor graft is used to replace the damage knee ligament in an arthroscopic surgery that usually takes a few hours under general anesthesia according to Medline.
A knee brace is typically worn after surgery, and physical therapy aids to rehabilitate the joint. A specially tailored program is designed for the player to restore the joint to the strength and flexibility level required for professional sports participation. Most NFL players return to play the following season after ACL reconstruction.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson underwent ACL surgery performed by the renowned Dr. James Andrews after a knee injury on Christmas Eve in 2012, in a game against the Washington Redskins. He was back to playing the next season and led the NFL in rushing yards; his record for the season was his second best in 6 seasons of play in the NFL.
Peterson recently signed with the Redskins and continues to have a successful career. Peterson’s new teammate, Redskins running back Derrius Guice, had ACL surgery in August; he also received his surgery from the notable Dr. Andrews, and took to social media immediately following his successful procedure, posting images of his before and after. Guice is expected to return to practice early next year and be on the field next season.
While many football, soccer, and other professional sports players are widely known for having ACL surgery, anyone can suffer a torn ACL and require surgical intervention. This surgery is considered a non-invasive procedure in most cases, as arthroscopy can be used to operate on the interior of the knee through very small access points.
ACL surgery has a high success rate, and most patients can return to normal activity within a month, using a knee brace to provide support. Physical therapy will help strengthen the joint and restore range of motion for maximum mobility. For most non-athletes, rehabilitation can be completed in two to six months.
Dr. Scott Strasburger trained under Dr. Andrews, and currently offers ACL reconstruction at our Lincoln, Nebraska office. If you have or suspect a torn ACL, call Strasburger Orthopaedics for a consultation to see if ACL surgery is an option for you.