Background: Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are common in athletes, but there are few studies of long-term outcomes.
Hypothesis: Long-term knee function of anterior cruciate ligament-injured athletes is inferior to that of their uninjured teammates.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study.
Methods: Thirty-three Division I-A athletes who had sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury during their college career completed a series of questionnaires that assessed knee function and quality of life 2 to 14 years after injury. Their responses were compared with those of a matched cohort of their uninjured teammates.
Results: There were no differences in the mean Tegner scores, modified Lysholm scores, or in the scores of the SF-36 between groups. Sixteen anterior cruciate ligament-injured athletes scored A or B in the subjective portion of the International Knee Documentation Committee score and 17 scored C or D, whereas 24 control subjects scored A or B and 9 scored C or D, a statistically significant difference between groups. Five injured and 14 control athletes had participated at a professional or national team level after college.
Conclusions: Quality of life of elite collegiate athletes who sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury was not significantly different from that of their uninjured teammates, but knee function differed between groups.