As we are now learning to adapt to life alongside COVID, athletes across the globe are eager to return to the arena. However, questions are being raised by professionals as to whether the prolonged break in training regimes could be damaging. And this will result in an increase in the occurrence of immobilising injuries – particularly anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.
A primary concern raised by professionals is that the break-in practice could lead to a higher rate of injury and re-injury. This would be a result of delayed and potentially compressed workload and gameplay as events resume.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
An ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament. This is a strong band of tissue that helps to connect your thigh bone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia). Most ACL injuries occur during sports after a sudden stop or change in direction along with jumping and landing. These injuries are very common in sports such as football, basketball, rugby and netball.
After surgery, it is unlikely that an athlete would return to play for at least nine months – which is a significant chunk of an athlete’s career. Additionally, re-tear rates are as likely as 20%. Although strengthening muscles around the knee, as well as balance exercises, can go a long way to reduce the risk of this happening.
Prolonged Breaks In Athletic Performance
The break forced by COVID is likely to have resulted in the deconditioning of important physical qualities associated with performance. Additionally, there are expected reductions in competitive match fitness and sport-specific skills.
The physical and psychological impact of competitive environments can also add an extra level of pressure. Especially for athletes who have not been in these situations for a prolonged period of time.
Currently, there are increased risks of playing sport in a world adapting to COVID, such as meeting social distancing requirements. But there are also concerns that this extra pressure could be detrimental to athletes’ ongoing mental health.
Returning To Play after ACL surgery
Surgery to repair an ACL tear can help you to return to your previous athletic form. Furthermore, when training or a rehabilitation programme has been compromised, a graded return to full training is recommended.
For more advice on ACL injuries or if you have any other questions about returning to sport after surgery, get in touch with Mr Punwar today to arrange a consultation or book online.