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The Most Devastating Injury in Football: The Torn ACL July 24, 2007

Posted by Marquis Chapman in College Football, Football, NFL, Sports, Video.

Tearing the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is definately the most devastating injury in the sport of football.  Tearing an ACL almost  always puts an end to a player’s season and can possibly end their careers.  Some of the most gifted athletes have had their careers put in jeopardy because of this injury.  The injury is more prevelent in the sport of football because players are constantly receiving a lot of contact to their legs. Victims of the injury include Willis McGahee (seen in the video below), Donovan McNabb, and Dante Culpepper.

The ACL is the most important stabilizing ligament in the knee. It’s located in the center of the knee, and it’s main function is to prevent the shin bone sliding forward on the thigh bone.

Tearing of the ACL usually occurs when a player receives a hard hit to the knee while the leg is planted or when a player tries to change direction suddenly. Having a cleat get stuck in the field is also common. There can be a partial or a complete tear to the the ligament.

The treatment and rehab process of the injury is usually long, lasting six to twelve months. Surgey is required and involves replacing the ACL with healthy tissue from another part of the knee.  In some cases, tissue from your hamstring can be used.  After surgery, rehab is needed to get the knee back to full strength.  If rehab is done properly, the injured knee becomes noticeably stronger than it was before. A brace is needed once the player is able to resume play. The brace ensures that the knee will be stabilized during play.

When returning from a knee injury like this, athletes noticeably favor the other knee.  This is due to the fact that they fear hurting the knee again, or there is still some pain and discomfort in the knee. Returning from an injury like this can really test an athlete mentally. Some athletes are never able to return to full strength.  There are a select few however, that come back better than ever.




1. kidal25 - August 3, 2007

I remember that night. I was pissed about three things. 1)His knee was bent the way a knee isn’t supposed to bend. 2)The hurricanes got robbed on a stupid no call that should have been a call. 3)Ohio State won. But i’m a Florida Gator fan so we got our revenge back in many ways if you know what I mean.

2. Marquis Chapman - August 4, 2007

Yeah, that was a one of the worst calls in the history of college football. How do you call the something like that so late in the game?! I like the Gators but I’m a diehard Miami Hurricane fan. That game and injury left me depressed for a couple of days.

3. Hieb - September 11, 2007

I have nothing but respect for anybody that can destroy their knee that bad and come back just as strong if not stronger. A torn ACL is no fun at all. Been there done that, twice…Good luck to McGahee in is NFL career.

4. Marquis Chapman - September 11, 2007

It takes a lot of hard work and determination to fully recover from a injury like this, but more and more athletes are doing it these days.

5. Lady Raider - September 11, 2007

Well i think that blowing your knee is a horrible, I think that the two year player from the bills breaking his neck was way worse, at least he regained movement in his arms and legs.

6. london olympics map - March 28, 2010

it is a horrible injury and remember the term excruciating pain is derived from the self same injury

7. boss - March 19, 2011


8. The Most Devastating Injury in Football: The Torn ACL (via All Talk Sports) « georgethegoalie - March 21, 2011

[…] Tearing the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is definately the most devastating injury in the sport of football.  Tearing an ACL almost  always puts an end to a player's season and can possibly end their careers.  Some of the most gifted athletes have had their careers put in jeopardy because of this injury.  The injury is more prevelent in the sport of football because players are constantly receiving a lot of contact to their legs. Victims of t … Read More […]

9. daniel - March 23, 2011

I have been playing soccer since i was 12, im now 24. I tore my acl a couple of months ago, and just had the surgery 2 days from now. I feel sick everytime i see something like this, the pain is unbelievable when first doing it, and the sound of your ligurment snap inside the knee is intense. I hope i can get back to playing, but i doubt ill be the same player.

10. shamtest - May 14, 2011

I can’t seem to properly browse this page from my smartphone!

11. Nate Shelton - January 13, 2012

I am 14 i tore my acl when i was 13. Dr.copper the dallas cowboys doctor did my sergery 7 months ago. I worked really hard in rehab and i am bacl. Not only am i back, but i feel much stronger on the leg i got the surgery on. I now play for deion sanders youth football team! If u dont belive me you can look me up on youtube and see my highlights! Type in Nate Shelton and ill be the first thing to pop up!
#work hard
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#Do the extra work!

12. gaurav - March 15, 2012

i love football , i never played for any team but i pray to god to be born next birth as a football player . i torn my acl in college days 20 age , i am at home working hard for the physical treatment of acl , its hard to keep on doing exercise for 6 months for 16 hours but not impossible . there are many doctors in india that give ayurvedic treatment of acl through oil and medicines of calcium , i have hope that i will be back on my legs . i still love football and chelsea .
anyone with acl tear can share his views , i would be glad .

13. Max Duggan - April 21, 2012

im 15 and ruptured my ACL when i was 14 I play for aston villa academy u15s i worked hard in rehab and on my return dislocated the the knee cap on the same knee as acl just wanna get back playing i should be back in october 2012

14. Jenna - June 8, 2012

I am 19 years old and ruptured my acl on november 27th 2011, a girl basically jumped through my leg in football. Was the horriblest thing, was supposed to be making my debut for my county two days after that. I had an operation on 14th of january 2012 and i’m now at the point where i can run on the treadmil and flat surfaces and just gettin my surrounding muscles as strong as possible. It is such a long haul injury and all i want to do is play football, when i have fully recovered i plan on equally achieving what i already have and more! cant wait to be back playing! NEVER TAKE FOOTBALL FOR GRANTED!

15. rishi - July 8, 2012

you should consult your doctor regarding surgery. I had my acl torn five years ago while playing football. but I was never diagnosed with acl injury till one week ago. earlier doctors said that it was just a sprain. I was never able to play the same game again. going to get my surgery done in one week. acl will not regrow. if it is fully torn, then surgery is a must. coz after your acl is torn, pressure will build upon medial meniscus. over a period it might damage leading to early arthritis. don’t think that I’m scaring you. but this is the truth. but, you can have it as a second option if you are never going to have a aggressive game play in future.

Chaz - July 28, 2012

rishi, you’re wrong. In fact many professional football and soccer players survive without an ACL through strengthening there quad and become comfortable with performing without an ACL. It’s completely possible. approximately 1/3 of athletes recover without surgery, 1/3 of athletes recover with surgery and the rest either opt out if playing again, or simply can’t recover due to mental barriers. The latter is rare and anyone with an ACL I urge to concentrate on physio as if you can learn to play without an ACL, not only is it possible, its debatably a better option.

charlie - September 5, 2012

i must say the acl injury is a right pain, more so the fact that i havnt been able to run in 6 months

16. Issa Afeez Olaiwola - December 10, 2012

Am a strong lover of football and a talented player as well, but I have a torn medial injury on the 3rd of April 2011. I have done a lot physio and took several medications. And this is coursing jeopardy to my career and am also mentally disturbed. Am totally depressed because i don’t have money for the surgery the doctor advised. Who will be My helper to achieve my goal in life? My names are Issa Afeez Olaiwola, Phone: 08061580130,07080764842,08182686365.

17. Ramiro Yellock - February 3, 2013

Fall cases commonly result in very serious injuries to the knee. As a knee injury lawyer I regularly meet clients who have suffered knee injuries from slips on wet surfaces, trips on drop-offs, broken and irregular sidewalks, stairs and other tripping hazards, as well as steps with missing or inadequate handrails. These hazards are often made worse by inadequate lighting which contributes to further concealing these dangers. Serious knee injuries occur when clients trip or fall on such hazards and land with full force on their knee. *

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