Pro Football and Recovery from Knee Surgery

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by KYW’s medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough

The football season is around the corner. Lots of glamour and attention for the players but a major concern is that the average NFL player only lasts three and a half years.

There are numerous traumatic injuries, one of the most common is knee injuries. A Texas study finds that despite surgery, less than two-thirds of National Football League players are able to return to play after knee ligament tears.

This surprised several team physicians who said they believed 90 to 100 percent of players would be back on the field, according to an earlier survey.

But here is the most surprising point. Whether or not players returned to compete had little to do with the success of surgery and more with how much money the team has invested in them already and who else is waiting on the sideline to replace them. Draft status mattered also: those who’d been drafted in the first four rounds had 12 times the odds of competing again.

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