Successful return to play remains a challenge for a soccer player after ACL reconstruction. In addition to a successful surgical intervention, a soccer-specific functional rehabilitation program is essential to achieve this goal. Soccer-like elements should be incorporated in the early stages of rehabilitation to provide neuromuscular training specific to the needs of the player. Gym-based and, later, field-based drills are gradually intensified and progressed until the player demonstrates the ability to return to team practice. In addition to the recovery of basic attributes such as mobility, flexibility, strength, and agility, the surgically repaired knee must also regain soccer-specific neuromuscular control and conditioning for an effective return to sports.
When straight line running is good, then proprioceptive training is introduced. This includes running in circles, figure ‘8’s, zig-zags, etc. This is the most important phase because this type of activity not only helps return to sport, but is has been shown to decrease subsequent ACL rupture or re-rupture.
Athletes can lower their risk of torn ACL by participating in performance drills that focus on improving lower extremity strength, agility, flexibility, and power. My #ACLInjury Reduction Program developed and designed for female soccer players can be applicable for all athletes both male and female.
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Studies show that within one year of ACL reconstruction surgery:
* Only one-third of athletes return to their previous level of competition.
* Less than 50 percent return to the same level of play within two to seven years.
* Only 81 percent will return to any level of athletic participation.
Functional training is a key element in regaining the soccer-specific neuromuscular control necessary to perform skills ranging from basic to soccer- specific drills. Particular attention should be given to the quality of the movement patterns and stabilization strategies.
#sportsinjury #sportsrecovery #sportsrehab #prehab