After a major injury or orthopaedic surgery, many patients question whether they should quit playing their sport or switch to another form of exercise to avoid reinjury or doing further harm. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I address this concern for someone who has suffered two ACL injuries and wants to avoid another ACL tear.

Angela asks:
My son tore his ACL (non contact) on the third day of football practice his junior year. Then in his senior year he tore his other ACL during the second football game. His dream of playing college football was crushed. He shared with me today that his would like to play again but afraid of a third injury. Is it true some people are prone to ACL injuries than others? When should an athlete call it quits?

Return to sports rates after ACL reconstructions are fairly good, with studies showing rates between 50 and 90%. It can take a lot of work on the part of the patient and many, many months of physical therapy. Athletes can also battle a fear of reinjury and the challenge that the leg doesn’t feel normal.

One of the known risks of ACL reconstruction, though, is a second ACL injury. The athlete can tear the graft on the surgical leg or the opposite ACL. Surgery is usually still the preferred treatment, but concern about return to sports does exist. Many athletes have successfully returned to sports after a revision ACL surgery or that procedure on both knees, but it is never guaranteed.

Retiring from sports to avoid another ACL tear

In this video, I review the decision to retire from a sport or to change exercise to avoid suffering another injury or causing long-term damage to the injured body part. While I offer these tips specifically for ACL injuries, the points I make can apply to many sports and exercise injuries.

Athletes doing ACL prevention exercises to avoid another ACL tear

Also read:
Athletic performance after ACL surgery
Ask Dr. Geier – Can I play sports after a partial ACL tear?