How recovery and return to sports after ACL surgery became quicker and more predictable

ACL injuries ended athletes’ careers before the 1980s. Orthopedic surgeons put them in leg casts and let the knee get stiff. As you can probably imagine, trying to play any sport would be hard with a stiff knee.

Fast forward to today, and we expect athletes and active people to return to their same level of performance after ACL reconstruction surgery. What changed?

In my book, That’s Gotta Hurt: The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever, I discuss the ACL injury of New York Knicks star Bernard King. He is widely considered to be the first elite athlete to return to play at the same level after ACL surgery.

While the surgery changed somewhat over the years, it was the rehab process that really evolved around the time of King’s injury. Read what King went through every day to get back onto the court (and make an All-Star game), and then compare that to what you would do in the same circumstances today?

Could you return to play after an ACL surgery? Or have you returned, or one of your kids has?

In That’s Gotta Hurt: The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever, I explain ACL injuries and surgeries and what the recovery process from them really entails. If you play sports or have children who do, this information is critical to help you not only stay healthy but also perform your best. Order your copy now from AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks-A-MillionApple iBookstoreTargetIndieBound or Powell’s Books.

Also read:
ACL surgery: Answers to questions you might have
Athletic performance after ACL surgery

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, online, on my show, or in the comments at the end of these posts. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

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david-headshot I am an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

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