Anterior cruciate ligament injuries in the National Football League: epidemiology and current treatment trends among team physicians

Arthroscopy. May-Jun 2002;18(5):502-9. doi: 10.1053/jars.2002.30649.


Purpose: To review the epidemiology of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in the National Football League (NFL) and current treatment trends within this population.

Type of study: Descriptive.

Methods: Part 1 of this study reviews the data collected in the NFL Injury Surveillance System from 1986 to 1995 with respect to these injuries. Included in this review are the specifics surrounding these injuries such as exposure type (game versus practice), position, mechanism, and playing surface on which the injury occurred. Part 2 of this analysis focuses on present treatment performed on these high-level athletes through a survey that was sent to and completed by all 31 NFL team orthopaedic surgeons.

Results: The total number of ACL injuries in this select population has remained constant over the period analyzed.

Conclusions: Current preferred treatment technique favors endoscopic patellar tendon autograft reconstruction.

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Arthroscopy
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Knee Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Knee Injuries / therapy
  • Population Surveillance
  • Sports Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology*
  • Sprains and Strains / therapy
  • Tendon Transfer / methods
  • Tendons / transplantation
  • United States / epidemiology