ROSEMONT, Ill., Jan. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Professional athletes are highly susceptible to orthopaedic injuries due to the inherent physical nature of their work. While types of orthopaedic procedures and their associated recovery times are well-documented, empirical evidence assessing athlete performance after returning to play is quite limited.
Wellington K. Hsu, the Clifford C. Raisbeck Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Northwestern University in Chicago is working to change that. His research team, the Sport Professional Orthopaedic Research Tool (SPORT) group, has been compiling a database to elucidate how orthopaedic procedures affect professional athletes of four major athletic associations: National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball, and National Hockey League (NHL).
In 2011, the SPORT group assessed the outcomes of professional athletes from these four professional athletic associations who underwent surgery to repair a herniated lumbar disc. While the return to play rate was over 80% for athletes diagnosed with lumbar disc herniation, surgical repair of a herniated lumbar disc led to different outcomes in athletes based upon sport and experience level at the time of diagnosis. The findings from the Professional Athlete Spine Initiative highlight the need for additional studies assessing orthopaedic procedures for other injuries in professional athletes. Hsu adds, "It is likely that different types of injuries will lead to different outcomes in an athlete depending on the relative demands of each sport."
The SPORT group has published studies assessing post-injury outcomes in professional basketball and football players. It was found that NBA players who had treatment for a hand or wrist fracture had the greatest return to play rate (98.1%), while those who underwent Achilles tendon repair had the lowest rate (70.8%). Achilles tendon repair and arthroscopic knee surgery led to a greater decline in post-operative performance outcomes and shorter career lengths in NBA players than other orthopaedic procedures. Assessment of performance outcomes in NFL players undergoing various orthopaedic procedures revealed that anterior cruciate ligament repair, Achilles tendon repair, and patellar tendon repair have the greatest effect on an NFL career.
Continued research by the SPORT group will include the assessment of hockey and baseball players.
Hsu is a member of the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS). ORS strives to be the world's leading forum for the dissemination of new musculoskeletal research findings.
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SOURCE Orthopaedic Research Society