Return to sport after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in professional soccer players

S. Zaffagnini, A. Grassi, G. M M Muccioli, K. Tsapralis, M. Ricci, L. Bragonzoni, S. Della Villa, M. Marcacci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To investigate time to return to sport and rate of professional sport activity in a homogenous group of competitive soccer players 4. years after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and rehabilitation. Methods: Twenty-one male professional soccer players (mean age 22.9. ± 5.4. years) underwent non-anatomical double-bundle autologous hamstring ACL reconstruction and followed the same rehabilitative protocol. Clinical evaluation was performed preoperatively and at 3, 6 and 12-month follow-up. Data regarding return to train and official match, sport activity, complications and revision surgeries were collected at 4-year follow-up. Results: Laxity test (KT-2000) and total KOOS mean score resulted in a significant improvement from the preoperative status to the 12-month follow-up (p <0.0001). The KOOS mean value showed a significant progressive improvement from the preoperative status to 6-month follow-up (p = 0.0010) as well, while values collected at 6 and 12-month follow-up were comparable (p = 0.2349). Returned to official matches 186. ±. 53. days after surgery. After 12. months, 95% came back to the same activity level performed before injury. Four years after ACL reconstruction, 15 patients (71%) were still playing competitive soccer. One patient (5%) underwent ACL failure and subsequent revision. Conclusions: The ACL reconstruction with the presented technique followed by patient-tailored rehabilitation, allowed 95% and 62% professional male soccer players to return to the same sport activity 1. year and 4. years after surgery respectively. However, 71% were still able to play competitive soccer at final follow-up. Clinical scores were restored after 6. months.Level of evidence: IV, case series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-735
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Anterior cruciate ligament
  • Arthroscopy
  • Double-bundle
  • Professional soccer players

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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