Objective: To evaluate trends in the frequency of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears among adolescent soccer and basketball players resulting in reconstructive surgery, and to assess differences between female and male adolescent athletes.
Design: A retrospective review of ACL reconstructive surgeries performed from 1992 through 1997 and annual statewide participation rates obtained from the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Setting: Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Patients: Adolescent athletes 13 to 19 years of age (78 girls, 31 boys) admitted for ACL reconstruction due to soccer or basketball injuries.
Main outcome measures: Number of ACL reconstructive surgeries and number of Massachusetts participants in high school soccer and basketball.
Results: A total of 69 soccer (49 girls, 20 males) and 40 basketball (29 girls, 11 males) players underwent ACL reconstruction. A greater proportion of girls underwent ACL surgery in both sports. The frequency increased over time for both sexes in both sports. Soccer-related surgeries increased at a faster rate among girls than boys. Basketball-related surgeries increased at a similar rate for both sexes, although in any given year more surgeries were performed on girls.
Conclusion: The frequency of ACL surgery at our institution has increased among high school soccer and basketball players in a manner consistent with trends in sports participation. In our study, ACL surgery was more common among girls than boys.