Performance and return-to-sport after ACL reconstruction in NFL quarterbacks

Orthopedics. 2014 Aug;37(8):e728-34. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20140728-59.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is a significant injury in National Football League (NFL) quarterbacks. The purpose of this study was to determine (1) return-to-sport (RTS) rate in NFL quarterbacks following ACL reconstruction, (2) performance upon RTS, and (3) the difference in RTS and performance between players who underwent ACL reconstruction and controls. Thirteen quarterbacks (14 knees) who met inclusion criteria underwent ACL reconstruction while in the NFL. Matched controls were selected from the NFL during the same time span to compare and analyze age, body mass index (BMI), position, performance, and NFL experience. Student t tests were performed for analysis of within- and between-group variables. Bonferroni correction was used in the setting of multiple comparisons. Twelve quarterbacks (13 knees; 92%) were able to RTS in the NFL. Mean player age was 27.2±2.39 years. Mean career length in the NFL following ACL reconstruction was 4.85±2.7 years. Only 1 player needed revision ACL reconstruction. In both cases and controls, player performance was not significantly different from preinjury performance after ACL reconstruction (or index year in controls). There was also no significant performance difference between case and control quarterbacks following ACL reconstruction (or index year in controls). There is a high rate of RTS in the NFL following ACL reconstruction. In-game performance following ACL reconstruction was not significantly different from preinjury or from controls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / rehabilitation*
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Football / injuries
  • Football / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Knee Injuries / surgery
  • Male
  • Recovery of Function
  • United States