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Orthop J Sports Med


BACKGROUND: National Football League (NFL) players who undergo anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction have been shown to have a lower return to play (RTP) than previously expected. However, RTP in the NFL after revision ACL reconstruction (RACLR) is not well defined.

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The purpose of this study is to determine the RTP of NFL players after RACLR and evaluate factors that predict RTP. Our hypothesis was that more experienced and established players would be more likely to RTP after RACLR.

STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS: A total of 24 NFL players who underwent RACLR between 2007 and 2014 were reviewed and evaluated. Return to NFL play, time to return, seasons and games played prior to and after revision surgery, draft status, and demographic data were collected. Overall RTP was determined, and players who did RTP were compared with those unable to RTP. Data were also compared with control players matched for age, position, size, and experience.

RESULTS: After RACLR, 79% (19/24) of NFL players returned to NFL regular-season play at an average of 12.6 months. All players who were drafted in the first 4 rounds, played in at least 55 games, or played 4 seasons of NFL play prior to injury were able to RTP. Players drafted in the first 4 rounds of the NFL draft were more likely to RTP than those who were not (odds ratio, 0.1; 95% CI, 0.01-1.00; P = .05). Those who returned to NFL play played in significantly less games and seasons after their injury than before (P = .01 and P = .01, respectively). However, these values did not differ when compared with matched controls (P = .67 and P = .33).

CONCLUSION: NFL players who RTP after RACLR do so at a similar rate but prolonged time period compared with after primary ACL reconstruction. Athletes who were drafted in earlier rounds were more likely to RTP than those who were not. Additionally, player experience prior to injury is an important factor when predicting RTP after RACLR.

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