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