Prevalence and Impact of Hip Arthroscopic Surgery on Future Participation in Elite American Football Athletes

Orthop J Sports Med. 2018 Feb 5;6(2):2325967117752307. doi: 10.1177/2325967117752307. eCollection 2018 Feb.


Background: Intra-articular injuries to the hip in elite athletes represent a source of significant pain and disability. Hip arthroscopic surgery has become the gold standard for the treatment of disorders involving the hip joint.

Purpose: To examine the incidence of and abnormalities treated with hip arthroscopic surgery as well as the impact on future participation in American football athletes invited to the National Football League (NFL) Scouting Combine with a history of hip arthroscopic surgery.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: Athletes invited to the NFL Combine from 2012 to 2015 were evaluated for a history of hip arthroscopic surgery. Athlete demographics, imaging findings, and physical examination results were gathered using the NFL Combine database. Information on prospective participation in the NFL with regard to draft status, games played, games started, and current status was gathered using publicly available databases and compared against all other athletes participating in the combine.

Results: Fourteen athletes (15 hips) had a history of arthroscopic hip surgery. Acetabular labral tears were treated in 93% (14 hips), with femoroacetabular impingement decompression performed in 33% (5 hips). Compared with athletes who had no history of hip arthroscopic surgery, those undergoing arthroscopic surgery did not possess a lower likelihood of being drafted (66% vs 71%, respectively; P = .78) or of being on an active roster (52% vs 43%, respectively; P = .44) after their first season in the NFL. Moreover, there was no significant difference in the number of regular-season games played (10.9 ± 4.8 with arthroscopic surgery vs 11.0 ± 5.1 without; P = .96) or started (7.0 ± 3.6 with arthroscopic surgery vs 7.1 ± 5.3 without; P = .98).

Conclusion: American football athletes invited to the NFL Combine with a history of hip arthroscopic surgery were not at risk for diminished participation when compared with all other athletes during their first season in the NFL.

Keywords: American football; athletes; femoroacetabular impingement; hip arthroscopic surgery; labrum.