This past weekend, college football fans cringed as a University of Georgia running back twisted out of bounds landing awkwardly on his left knee. The force and speed of the play caused the knee to be hyperextended in a violent fashion. Every injury is difficult to deal with but ones that create multiple sites of damage can be potentially devastating.
Although hard to forget, multiple-ligament knee injuries are not seen very often in sports and do not carry the amount of research and clinical support that other, more common, injuries do. According to a review of literature, found in the The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, “Both the optimum timing of surgery for repair or reconstruction and the aggressiveness of rehabilitation are debated.” (Mook et al, 2009)
Recently, several American Football cases have shown a wide array of results. In 2003, a University of Miami Football running back suffered an injury to the ACL, MCL and only a slight tear to the PCL. This was a second ACL tear in the same knee he originally injured while in high school. After surgical repair and extensive rehabilitation, he was drafted into the NFL. After sitting out an entire season, he played professionally for 10 years, earning 2 Pro-Bowl appearances and NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
In 2013 a San Francisco 49er linebacker suffered a torn ACL and MCL during a playoff game. After further evaluation, the MCL tear did not require surgery and the ACL was reconstructed after a period to allow for reduction of swelling. This player sat out a full season, similar to the running back mentioned above, before returning to play in 2015. Hopeful for a full recovery, the linebacker still has pain and discomfort and reports needing “about two hours” to prepare for a game or practice due to stiffness and pain in the knee.
In 2011, a running back for South Carolina suffered a torn ACL and MCL with associated meniscal damage in his left knee. Just on year later, he suffered a complete knee dislocation to his right knee that involved all the major ligaments and a patella dislocation. After a long process of rehabilitation, the athlete retired from football claiming he could not return to the level needed by an NFL player.
There are many variables when recovering from injury and attempting a return to sport. The genetic ability to heal, level and amount of damage, and location of injury are outside the bounds of control for any medical team. At Sports Medicine South, our professionals provide the best in pre-surgical, surgical and post-surgical care in order to maximize the results and provide every opportunity for the athlete to return “Beyond Better”.
Our Physicians utilize the latest technology and innovations in ACL Reconstruction and their surgical experience is second to none. Dr Gary Levengood has performs close to 100 ACL surgeries per year! That extensive experience in ACL care and treatment has allowed him to become a sought after speaker on ACL Reconstruction both nationally and internationally. Also, our Physical Therapy Department, led by Curt Bazemore, PT, ATC, includes state-of-the-art technology and equipment such as the Anti-Gravity Treadmill (Alter G) and the Trazer Functional Training Technology. SMS are leaders in not only surgical care but in return to sport criteria.
If you have suffered an injury to the knee and would like to discuss treatment options with one of our professionals, contact SMS at 770-237-3475.