Basketball players who suffer ACL tears can recover full performance
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are frequently season-ending injuries. ACL tears often happen in sports like basketball that require “cutting,” or suddenly slowing and changing direction, to drive the ball down the court. This motion stresses the ACL, whose primary job is to stabilize the knee. Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance Faculty Affiliate and Stanford associate professor of orthopaedic surgery Dr. Geoffrey Abrams and his colleagues recently published a study about ACL injury and recovery in basketball using data from 50 National Basketball Association (NBA) players over 37 seasons. The researchers were surprised to find that injured players recovered to perform similarly to healthy players matched for age, league experience, and style of play. Abrams emphasized this “full come-back” as a win, as traditionally it has been assumed players return worse than before. These findings are integral in Abrams’ daily practice treating Stanford athletes, and he will continue to investigate ACL injury and prevention as part of the Alliance.
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