U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn recently won the Super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy and broke the record of World Cup victories there with her total of 63 to date. Vonn’s accomplishment is even more remarkable considering her history of multiple knee injuries, including two ACL tears in 2013.
Vonn is just one example of an athlete who has returned from ACL injuries to compete at a high level. Dr. Brian Cole of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, a sports medicine surgeon who specializes in ACL reconstruction, points out that it can be done by working with a good surgeon and undergoing post-surgery therapy before jumping back into the game. He also recommends using some form of a functional sports assessment in order to evaluate the athlete’s strength, endurance and neuromuscular control.
The January/February 2015 issue of Sports Medicine Update included an article by Dr. Cole, Dr. T. Sean Lynch and Dr. Christopher Ahmad called “The Role of Functional Sports Assessment in the Return to Sport after ACL Reconstruction.” The article explains that when athletes who have had ACL reconstruction are returning to their respective sports, the consensus regarding criteria for return to play is lacking.
Dr. Cole and his colleagues at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush offer a Functional Sports Assessment (FSA) to their athlete-patients after ACL reconstruction. This process helps the physician and therapist determine the readiness of a patient’s safe return to sport.