AUSTRALIA'S BEST INFORMATION SOURCE FOR ELITE SPORTS INJURIES

ACL Injury

The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is perhaps the most-feared injury amongst all athletes. In football, it is invariably a season ending injury. Without a functioning ACL, an athlete is generally unable to change direction without the knee joint collapsing. Modern-day athletes are fortunate that the ACL can be reconstructed with advanced surgery but even in the best of hands, an ACL reconstruction will keep an athlete out of sport for up to 12 months. In addition, there is a lifetime increased risk of further problems both to the affected knee as well as the opposite knee.

Some football players have suffered multiple ACL injuries, including former Melbourne Demons player David Schwarz (who has had 3 reconstructions on the same knee) and Nik Kosef of the Manly Sea Eagles (who has had 2 reconstructions on each knee).

Most football players who have an ACL injury elect to have a knee reconstruction. In the general community, it has been quoted that up to 20% of football players may be able to play football without needing an ACL reconstruction however this figure is lower in the elite sporting population (less than 10%). In the rugby codes, forwards may be able to continue playing without a reconstruction as their position involves less change of direction. Former Penrith player Matt Adamson continued after a complete ACL injury in the NRL. Players may possibly be able to return within weeks if they don't undergo surgery.

One of the most difficult decisions in sport is when to return a player after an ACL reconstruction. The tendon used for reconstruction has been shown to take many months before they are able to achieve their full strength. It is well known that the risks of re-injury are greater if a player makes an early return to sport. There is a general consensus amongst doctors that athletes can minimise their risk by waiting at least 12 months before returning to sport. Ultimately it is a joint decision between players (and their parents for young athletes), coaches and doctors to decide whether the potential benefits of an earlier return (under 12 months) is worth the increased risk of reinjury. This is a difficult decision.

Tiger Woods famously played for several months on a torn left ACL. He was still able to win 9 of the 12 tournaments he competed in. This injury is rare in golf and he reports it was sustained while running. He finally had in repaired in April 2008. He continued to experience pain during his rehabilitation in 2009.

Australian Open and French Open winner, Mary Pierce, ruptured her ACL in a WTA Tournament in October 2006. She has not been able to make a comeback to competitive tennis since this injury.

ACL knee braces may be useful in athletes requiring extra stability to improve their sporting confidence after an injury or reconstruction.
WARNING: Some viewers may find this footage distressing.
ACL Tear Darren Lockyer
Darren Lockyer sustained a season ending ACL tear in July 2007.
(Image sourced from The Daily Telegraph)
ACL Tear Terry Campese
Terry Campese is assessed on field. He sustained an ACL tear in the 2010 finals match against the Wests Tigers.
(Image sourced from smh.com.au)
ACL Tear Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods clutches his left knee in pain during the 2008 US Open.
(Image sourced from The Seattle Times)
PLAYERS WHO HAVE HAD ACL INJURIES
Name Team Onset Year Sport
Lucas Pantelis Wellington Phoenix Pre Season 2011-12 aleague
Quade Cooper Reds RWC 2011 2012 UNION
Doug Tietjens Highlanders R 11 2012 UNION
Nizaam Carr Stormers R 12 2012 UNION
Jordan Kahu Broncos Pre Season 2012 NRL
Anthony Cherrington Roosters Pre Season 2012 NRL
Jacob Loko Eels Pre Season 2012 NRL
Slade Griffin Storm Trials 2012 NRL
James Tedesco Tigers R 1 2012 NRL
Anthony Tupou Sharks R 4 2012 NRL
Michael Weyman Dragons R 10 2012 NRL
Kyle Stanley Dragons R 19 2012 NRL
David Williams Sea Eagles R 24 2012 NRL
Andrew McInnes Carlton R 22 2012 AFL
Luke Ball Collingwood R 3 2012 AFL
Lachlan Keeffe Collingwood R 9 2012 AFL
Andrew Krakouer Collingwood VFL match 2012 AFL
Brent Macaffer Collingwood NAB 1 2012 AFL
Brent Prismall Essendon 2011 2012 AFL
Jason Winderlich Essendon 2011 2012 AFL
Anthony Morabito Fremantle 2011 2012 AFL
Anthony Morabito Fremantle R 17 training 2012 AFL
Daniel Menzel Geelong 2011 2012 AFL
Daniel Menzel Geelong R 10 2012 AFL
Kurt Aylett GWS R 1 2012 AFL
Setanta O'hAilpin GWS R 6 2012 AFL
Stephen Gilham Hawthorn 2011 2012 AFL
Michael Osborne Hawthorn R 7 2012 AFL
Brendan Whitecross Hawthorn Finals week 1 2012 AFL
Jamie Bennell Melbourne R 16 2012 AFL
Max Gawn Melbourne 2011 2012 AFL
Jake Spencer Melbourne 2011 2012 AFL
Robbie Gray Port Adelaide R 4 2012 AFL
James Gwilt St Kilda 2011 2012 AFL
Jude Bolton Sydney R 19 2012 AFL
Mark LeCras West Coast Pre Season 2012 AFL
Will Genia Reds 2012 2013 UNION
Bismarck du Plessis Sharks Pre Season 2013 UNION
David Pocock Brumbies Round 4 2013 UNION
Johan Goosen Cheetahs Round 5 2013 UNION
Jaco Taute Stormers Round 8 2013 UNION
Paul Jordaan Sharks Round 11 2013 UNION
Taylor Walker Adelaide Round 5 2013 AFL
Claye Beams Brisbane Round 3 training 2013 AFL
Stephen Wrigley Brisbane NAB Cup Round 4 2013 AFL
Andrew McInnes Carlton Round 22, 2012 2013 AFL
Luke Ball Collingwood Round 3, 2012 2013 AFL
Lachlan Keeffe Collingwood Round 9, 2012 2012 AFL
Alan Toovey Collingwood Round 5 2013 AFL
Kepler Bradley Fremantle Round 5 2013 AFL
Jonothan Griffin Fremantle Round 7 2013 AFL
Anthony Morabito Fremantle Pre-Season 2013 AFL
Daniel Menzel Geelong Round 10, 2012 2013 AFL
Kyle Horsley Gold Coast Round 17 2013 AFL
Zac Smith Gold Coast Round 8 2013 AFL
Setanta O'hAilpin GWS Round 6, 2012 2013 AFL
Jonathan Patton GWS Round 3 2013 AFL
Michael Osborne Hawthorn Round 7, 2012 2013 AFL
Ryan Schoenmakers Hawthorn Round 4 2013 AFL
Matthew Suckling Hawthorn NAB Cup Round 3 2013 AFL
Brendan Whitecross Hawthorn Finals week 1, 2012 2013 AFL
Brendan Whitecross Hawthorn Preliminary Finals 2013 AFL
Alex Woodward Hawthorn Pre-Season 2013 AFL
Alex Johnson Sydney NAB Cup Round 3 2013 AFL
Rhyce Shaw Sydney Round 22 2013 AFL
Clay Smith Western Bulldogs Round 16 2013 AFL
Sione Louisi Warriors Pre Season 2013 NRL
Matthew White Titans Trials 2013 NRL
Kyle Stanley Dragons 2012 2013 NRL
Tautau Moga Roosters Pre Season 2013 NRL
Gerard Beale Dragons Round 5 2013 NRL
Tim Moltzen Tigers Round 7 2013 NRL
Steve Rapira Warriors NSW Cup 2013 NRL
Dallas Johnson Cowboys Round 20 2013 NRL
Kofi Danning Brisbane Roar Pre Season 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Marcos Flores Central Coast Mariners Round 12 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Mitch Cooper Newcastle Jets 2012-13 Season 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Scott Neville Newcastle Jets Round 9 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Travis Dodd Perth Glory 2012-13 Season 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Rhyan Grant Sydney FC Round 3 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Golgol Mebrahtu WS Wanderers FC Round 22 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Cullum Retallick Blues Pre Season 2014 UNION
Amo Botha Bulls Pre Season 2014 UNION
Tom Sexton Rebels Pre Season 2014 UNION
David Pocock Brumbies Round 3 2014 UNION
Stephen Moore Brumbies Test Match 1 2014 UNION
Siliva Siliva Brumbies Round 11 2014 UNION
Andy Otten Adelaide Round 20 2014 AFL
Daniel Rich Brisbane Round 3 2014 AFL
Trent West Brisbane Round 11 2014 AFL
Brent Macaffer Collingwood Round 22 2014 AFL
Matthew Scharenberg Collingwood Round 22 2014 AFL
Alex Browne Essendon Pre-season 2014 AFL
Kepler Bradley Fremantle Season 2013 2014 AFL
Jonathon Griffin Fremantle Season 2013 2014 AFL
Daniel Menzel Geelong Pre-season 2014 AFL
Nathan Vardy Geelong Pre-season 2014 AFL
Zac Smith Gold Coast Season 2013 2014 AFL
Tim Mohr GWS Round 18 2014 AFL
Jonathan Patton GWS Round 21 2014 AFL
Ryan Schoenmakers Hawthorn Season 2013 2014 AFL
Alex Johnson Sydney Round 1 Week 1 2014 AFL
Clay Smith Western Bulldogs Season 2013 2014 AFL
Clay Smith Western Bulldogs Round 18 2014 AFL
Lachlan Coote Cowboys Pre Season 2014 NRL
Matt Duffie Storm Pre Season 2014 NRL
Timana Tahu Knights Season 2013 2014 NRL
Jeff Lynch Raiders Pre Season 2014 NRL
Cameron King Cowboys Round 10 2014 NRL
Brent Tate Cowboys Origin 2 2014 NRL
Peter Wallace Panthers Round 20 2014 NRL

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