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Arthrosc Sports Med Rehabil


PURPOSE: To assess the effects of surgical treatment of athletic pubalgia (AP) on game use and performance metrics in National Basketball Association (NBA) players.

METHODS: A retrospective review of all NBA players who underwent surgical management for AP from 1996 to 2018 was performed. A matched control group was created for comparison. The index period was defined as the entire NBA season in which surgery occurred, including the corresponding offseason. Player demographics, use (games played, games started, and minutes per game) and performance (player efficiency rating) metrics were collected for all players. Statistical analysis was performed to compare data before and after return to play.

RESULTS: Thirty players with a history of surgical management for AP were included in the final analysis. Following surgery for AP, NBA players were found to have a return to play (RTP) rate of 90.91% (30/33). The average RTP following surgery was 4.73 ± 2.62 months. Compared with control athletes, athletes in the AP group played significantly fewer seasons postinjury (4.17 ± 2.70 vs 5.49 ± 3.04 seasons, respectively; P = .02). During the first year following RTP, NBA players experienced significant reductions in game use and performance, both when compared with the year prior and matched control athletes (P < .05). At 3-year follow-up, players continued to demonstrate significant reductions in game use (minutes per game, P < .05) but not performance.

CONCLUSIONS: Following surgical treatment of AP, NBA players demonstrated a high RTP rate, but shortened career. A short-term reduction in game use and performance metrics was found the year of return following surgery. However, 3-year follow-up performance metrics normalized when compared with healthy controls.

STUDY DESIGN: Level III; retrospective case-control study.

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