LSU ACL study aims to advance sports medicine into new era: ‘This is a big deal’


Tight end Jamal Pettigrew stepped through footwork drills, blocked dummies, pivoted and cut through routes in the LSU indoor practice facility — standard stuff, except for one thing: Pettigrew had only surgically repaired his torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) four months before, which, according to experts, meant he’d returned to football activities nearly twice as fast as the average athlete.

A few days later, outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson wore sweats as he tossed around a football during pregame warmups at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. He’d suffered a torn ACL against Miami on Sept. 2, tweeted a picture post-surgery Sept. 20, and less than two months later, tweeted a video of himself sprinting across LSU’s outdoor practice facility.

Plenty of torn ACLs with high-profile NFL athletes have played out publicly. Tom Brady. Jamaal Charles. Adrian Peterson famously returned to the Minnesota Vikings from a 2012 ACL tear in nine months — and that was widely considered unthinkable.

What was going on at LSU?

Dr. Brian Cole and Steve Kashul discuss their thoughts and opinions on this article comparing alternate ACL repair methods.

Sports Medicine Weekly on 670 The Score

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Discussion on Recent Injuries to Professional Athletes

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Dr. Brian Cole and Steve Kashul discuss recent professional sports injuries: Mitchell Trubisky’s shoulder injury, Redskins QB leg injuries and Markelle Fultz of the 76’ers who has missed the team’s last 27 games while rehabbing in California after being diagnosed with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome.

After a two-year stretch of confusion, frustration, internet conspiracies, andWashington v Arizona unpredictability, Markelle Fultz, the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2017 No. 1 draft pick who suddenly couldn’t shoot a basketball, was finally diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS).

This ailment, often untraceable even by MRI, is the cause of Fultz’s inability to shoot a basketball properly from any distance. TOS is a very real, frustrating, and difficult-to-describe ailment. That may explain why it took so long to diagnose.

Sports Medicine Weekly on 670 The Score

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A Season of Football Head Impacts Does Not Affect Balance

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There is considerable public concern about the effects of repetitive football head impacts on a player’s brain health. Many studies suggest a link between head impacts and poorer health. Safe and efficient walking and balance are critical for activities of daily living and can reflect a person’s overall health.

In this study, investigators evaluated 34 collegiate football players who wore head impact sensors and compared their walking and balance to 13 cheerleaders before and after a single season at two different colleges. Surprisingly, there was no worsening of walking or balance performance in the football players over the course of the season compared to their status before a season or compared to the cheerleaders. The helmet sensor data showed that these players, on average, were exposed to 538 impacts over the course of the competitive season. However, neither the number of impacts nor the force of the impacts had much influence on walking or balance performance measures in the athletes.

The conclusion of this study is that repetitive football head impacts did not affect walking or balance performance over a single season. The possible effects of these impacts over multiple seasons or in later life remain unknown.

For more information, view the abstract

American College of Sports Medicine

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Proven Strategies for Concussion Safety and Prevention

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Dr. Nik Verma  from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush discusses proven strategies for safety and prevention of concussion.

nikhil vermaDr. Verma specializes in treatment of the shoulder, elbow and knee with an emphasis on advanced arthroscopic reconstructive techniques of the shoulder, shoulder replacement, knee ligament reconstruction and articular cartilage reconstruction and meniscal transplantation.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. Verma completed his orthopedic residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center. He then completed a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in sports medicine and shoulder surgery. While in New York, he served as an assistant team physician for the St. John’s University Athletic Department. He also received specialized training in treatment of shoulder and elbow disorders in the overhead throwing athlete.

Currently, Dr. Verma maintains an active clinical practice performing over 500 procedures per year. He is Director of the Division of Sports Medicine and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. In addition, he serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, and Nazareth Academy.

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Verma is actively involved in orthopedic research with interests in basic science, biomechanics and clinical outcomes, and has recently received funding for his work from Major League Baseball.

He has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts in major orthopedic and sports medicine journals, numerous book chapters, and routinely serves as teaching faculty for orthopedic courses on advanced surgical techniques. He frequently serves as an invited speaker or guest surgeon for national and international orthopedic sports medicine meetings.

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