ISAKOS: 2019 Congress in Cancun, Mexico

2019 ISAKOS Biennial Congress ePoster #756


Return to Performance Following ACL Reconstruction in the Professional Footballer: A New Method of Assessment

Albert Tang, MBBS, Manchester UNITED KINGDOM
Ricci Plastow, MRCS, Manchester UNITED KINGDOM
Dominic Quinn, MBChB, Stoke-on-Trent UNITED KINGDOM
Neil Jain, BM, MRCS(Ed), FRCS(Tr&Orth), Manchester UNITED KINGDOM
Philip Turner, MBChB(Hons), FRCS(Ed), FRCS, FFSEM(UK), Stockport UNITED KINGDOM

Manchester Institute of Health & Performance, Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM

FDA Status Not Applicable


We describe a new method of assessing return to performance in professional footballers following ACL reconstruction



Outcome following ACL reconstruction is traditionally measured in terms of surgical scoring however this does not always include a return to play. Other studies define a successful outcome as a return to play at the sport in general, others assess by a return to play at pre-injury level however that does not describe any return to a level of performance within that play. We have not found analysis of the longer term outcomes regarding return to performance in football and therefore have designed and introduce a novel way of assessment for this.


We reviewed a database of 44 ACL injuries in professional footballers between 2002 and 2012. We followed their progress for at least 5 seasons following their ACL injury and surgery to assess their time to return to play and the quality of their return. This was measured by a scoring system that rewarded one point for a game appearance at first team level in at least the same division as pre-injury, 5 points for an appearance in the Champions League and 5 points for an appearance in an International game. 25 points were deducted for re-rupture. We then compared to a matched group of players without ACL injury.


43 players (97.8%) made a successful return to play (mean 8.2 months; range 4 to 16 months). The mean return to performance score was 193.67 points (range 0 to 601 points). 18 players had a better return to performance score post injury, 25 were worse (one was the same). There was no association with age of player or level of competition. A shorter return to play time resulted in a higher rate of re-rupture and worse return to performance score. An ACL injury was associated with a poorer outcome than the matched group.


We describe a novel method of assessment of return to performance following ACL reconstruction in professional footballers. We aim to refine this scoring system with increased numbers in order to test its reproducibility and accuracy but at the moment it remains unique.