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Found this site looking for pros and cons about ACL tear surgery. My daughter plays lacrosse and field hockey, not baseball, but the information here has been extremely helpful - thank you! We find out tomorrow the extent of the damage to her knee and I know what questions to ask now. She is a junior and trying to decide the best course of rehab is not an easy decision.
Bulldog/ John,
I wanted to update you kind fellas on our son's rehab since his surgery date of February 4th. After approx. 2.5 months with the physical therapist we were approached by an ex-D1 college football strength and conditioning coach. His opinion @ that time was that our son was NOT getting the Hamstrings and Quads "fired up" enough from physical therapy and that more intensive weight training would cure that. The results from the intensive weight training were not only good for his repaired knee, but he put on 15 very nice lbs. of muscle as well. After 4.5 months we met with the surgeon and he was released to play on June 16th. He has continued the weight program and now we have added some speed work to go with that. Last night he ran back-to-back sub 60 yard dashes. I have cautioned him daily on him being aware of any horse play or hero type moves. In my opinion he is about 75-80% back to "baseball" form, but his physical condition is 90-95% pre-operation, AND he is much stronger than before his injury. He is currently playing in our summer travel schedule and rounding into form day by day. When he first got released I cringed @ almost every single movement and was constantly yelling @ him to be smart/careful. While I am still quite sure that this very quick recovery is somewhat questionable to some, he does work out 5 to 6 days a week on top of baseball and appears to be getting stronger each day. I wanted to thank you guys for your time and encouraging words this past winter. There were times when this recovery was more than painful for the entire family, but as all things do... this too did pass ! I know that we are NOT all the way out of the woods, but I feel that his current routine will reap the best results. thanks again fellas !
Driller, just a caution here..

I love to see athletes return to the sport they love. That's my goal and something I really look forward to as well as they do. But I am real leary of any athlete returning from ACL surgery at the 4 month mark. The research has indicated that the ligament is actually at its weakness in that 4-6 month range. I find that really interesting especially considering we send those athletes back typically in that window.

My experience has been you're looking at 10-12 months regardless to be back fully ready to go. I know many are coming back sooner than that, but it scares me..
Thanks for asking about my daughter. She had a patella tendon reconstruction on March 23rd. Her rehab has gone very well. Between PT and the trainer at her school she had full range of motion within two weeks and was released from PT the first week of June. She is running and doing light drills but no planting/cutting moves. Goes back to the doc on the 26th. Tryouts for field hockey are the next week and am nervous about her going full out as that will only be four months post op. Her coach has already told her she will be easing her back in as she wants her ready for the tougher part of the season.....the team is three time state champs so everyone will be gunning for them....
LAXMOM- thansk for the update and glad she is doing well. Four months does seem a little soon but the thing that we learned during my sons surgery and rehab is that there is no "one size fits all" recovery timeline. Everyone is different and everyone recovers differently. Just tell your daughter to just do what she feels comfortable doing. She can push it and back off if she doesn't feel comfortable doing whateverr it is she is trying to do. Don't let anyone influence or push her to do anything that she isn't 100% sure she can do. If she is tentative and not going full tilt she risks further injury (at least that is what I think). My son is at 15 1/2 months post op with the patella graft and is doing well and is probably 95% back. Still a little pain to the touch and soreness after exertion and sometimes the weather affects him too....good luck and keep us posted
My son completely tore his ACL on Aug. 19. He is a senior. He is a starter on offense [WR] and defense [CB], as well as the teams punter. Left knee is injured. Punts with his right foot. He is determined to finish football season and play baseball before having surgery. He is our #1 pitcher and plays shortstop. He throws right-handed and switch hits. Does anyone know an athlete that has attempted to play with this injury? What was the result?
tlh-paw, I have a few points to offer in response to your question, base on my own experience:

Any good orthopedic practitioner will tell you there is a conservative treatment route following ACL rupture. They have to give you a range of alternatives from conservative to full-blown surgical intervention. The conservative route they advise is usually PT involving "strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee."

I was told this when I tore my left knee ACL playing rugby in 1983. Of course, the state of the art for ACL treatment in 1983 was medieval compared to today and being in college at the time, I felt like I had little choice but to go the conservative route.

In my opinion, the conservative route is suitable only for those willing to forego any level of physical activity following their injury, for the rest of their life. Period.

I tried to return to rugby (and collegiate ice hockey), following my PT in 1983 and suffered progressively worse rotational damage, before I finally had ACL autograft reconstruction in 1991. Having lived with an unstable knee for those 8 intervening years, I am now (at 49), meeting with my current ortho tomorrow to discuss full left knee replacement.

In contrast, I suffered a complete rupture of my right knee ACL, MCL, and partial tear of my medial meniscus in 1997 after returning to the rugby field in 1993. In 1993, I had the autograft reconstruction about a month after the injury. Presently, my right knee functions perfectly with no residual arthritis, pain, or limitation (other than the awful limitation presented by my left knee!).

In my humble lay-opinion, there is no alternative to ACL reconstructive surgery for an athletic young person who will seek to lead an active lifestyle as they age. The state of the art of the surgery is completely advanced since the 1980's. Patients are can be partial weight-bearing as soon as they are released, which dramatically diminishes recovery time and advances return times.

Where ACL tears used to end sports careers, players in good shape at the time of injury are returning to activity within several months of injury instead of the year or more that was common as recently as the 1980's and early 1990's.

With the surgical route, it sounds like your son will miss his senior football season. The chances are extremely slim he'd make it through the season without another serious subluxation. Without an ACL, he will not be able to stop or start explosively, will not be able to cut or even turn hard, and will not be able to create power even in a longitudinal body plane without risk of re-injury.

But if you chose surgery, he could be ready to play baseball before the end of his senior baseball season. All my opinion based solely on my personal experience. A good internet resource for injured athletes and their families is:

a non-commercial clearinghouse for all things knee. I presently use their boards to self-educate on the knee replacement I am facing later this year.


Last edited by tres_arboles
Just another update - My daughter was released to play five months post op. She was able to play the entire field hockey season, made 2nd team all district and as a defensive starter helped her team outscore their opponents 158-1 for the season (state champs). She had minimal swelling after each game, although the one really cold weather game was painful for her. No regrets in moving forward with the surgery so that she could participate in fall and spring sports this year. One key for us was talking to as many folks as possible to find the best surgeon in our area for this type of injury - I am absolutely sure that has made all the difference in her recovery. Good luck to all on this site - if you're here it means that you are probably making some tough choices for a child who is used to being active and competitive.

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