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It's weird my boyfriend and I both blew out our ACL playing competitive basketball at the college level. We both had surgery with the same surgeon and went through the same rehab program. Yet he is back on the court playing full blast and I'm still not ready. Is this a boy-girl thing? More of a "who is more competitive" thing? I try not to let it bother me, but it is.

Given what you just told us, you might find the results of a recent study of interest. A survey 314 athletes of all ages who had ACL reconstructive surgery was conducted two to seven years after their ACL surgery. They all had surgery with the same surgeon using the same surgical technique. And they all followed the same post-operative rehab program with a physical therapist. Athletes who filled out the self-report questionnaire answered questions about their level of sports participation before the injury and after the surgery. They also commented on overall knee function. Almost everyone (93 per cent) tried to participate in their sport after their surgery. Only about half of them were successful. And only one-third were playing competitively two to seven years later. Athletes who returned to sports at their preinjury level by the end of the first year didn't always stay in their sport competitively. That told the researchers that short-term results (12 months after surgery) aren't always an accurate reflection of what will happen months to years later. They noticed that men were more likely than women to get back into the game in that first year. But the final mid-term outcomes weren't any different between men and women. This could mean that women may take longer to rehab and recover but in the end, the results are the same as for men. In any case, if someone does not return to full participation in their sport at a preinjury level after ACL surgery in the first year, this does not mean they won't ever get back their full function later. And that is an important finding physicians, physical therapists, and sports trainers can offer athletes like yourself who have not regained full strength, function, and ability by the end of a year.


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