Return to Sport After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction in a Cohort of Division I NCAA Athletes From a Single Institution.



Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are common in collegiate athletes. The rate of return to the preinjury level of sport activities after ACL reconstruction continues to evolve.


The purpose was to determine the return-to-sport rate after ACL reconstruction in a cohort of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I athletes in different sports. It was hypothesized that, with intensive supervision of rehabilitation, the return-to-sport rate would be optimal.

Study design

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.


We retrospectively reviewed the records of 75 collegiate athletes from a single institution who had undergone unilateral or bilateral ACL reconstruction between 2001 and 2013 and participated in an extensive supervised rehabilitation program. Prospectively collected athlete data as well as data about preinjury exposure, associated lesions, surgical technique, time lost to injury, number of games missed, time to return to full sport activity or retire, and subsequent surgical procedures were extracted from the medical and athletic trainer records.


The 75 patients (40 male, 35 female; mean age, 20.1 years) underwent 81 reconstruction procedures (73 primary, 8 revision). The mean follow-up was 19.3 months. The overall return-to-sport rate was 92%. After reconstruction, 9 athletes (12%) retired from collegiate sports, but 3 of them returned to sport activities after graduation. Overall, 8 athletes (11%) experienced an ACL graft retear.


The return-to-sport rate in our National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I athletes compared favorably with that reported in other studies in the literature. The strict follow-up by the surgeon, together with the high-profile, almost daily technical and psychological support given mainly by the athletic trainers during the recovery period, may have contributed to preparing the athletes for a competitive rate of return to sport at their preinjury level.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Zampogna, Biagio, Sebastiano Vasta, Guglielmo Torre, Akhil Gupta, Carolyn M Hettrich, Matthew J Bollier, Brian R Wolf, Annunziato Amendola, et al. (2021). Return to Sport After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction in a Cohort of Division I NCAA Athletes From a Single Institution. Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine, 9(2). p. 2325967120982281. 10.1177/2325967120982281 Retrieved from

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Annunziato Amendola

Virginia Flowers Baker Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Chief of Sports Medicine

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