Thirty athletes (18 men and 12 women) were followed up for an average of 2.2 years after operative reconstruction for chronic anterior cruciate injuries with a mini-arthrotomy technique using a bone-patellar ligament-bone autograft. All the patients were active in sports, and the injuries in 40% occurred while playing soccer. The average delay between injury and reconstruction was 4.7 years; before this 26 knee operations had been carried out in 22 of the patients. At follow up, 20 patients were satisfied subjectively and 22 were classified objectively as excellent or good. Anteroposterior stability was good in 29 knees, and the Lachman and pivot shift tests were strongly positive in only one patient. Wasting of the thigh was more prominent in 9 patients who had a flexion deficit of 10 degrees or more, than in the other 21. Of the 15 competitive athletes, who had all given up their sport after injury, 8 were able to return to sport. Reconstruction using a bone-patellar ligament-bone autograft is recommended for symptomatic chronic anterior cruciate ligament insufficiency in athletes.