Psychological aspects of ACL reconstruction recovery 7/25

By Sports Medicine and Performance Center Staff
Posted: July 26, 2018 - 6:54 AM

One of the most well known injuries in sports is tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in the knee or more commonly known as the ACL.

You hear all the time about an athlete blowing out a knee which usually costs them almost a full season of participation. Thirty years ago the ACL tear could mean the end for an athlete but those injuries are not as devastating as before.

The repair and recovery from the ACL tear is not easy but athletes can now return to action and return to the same form they had before the injury.

Bryan Vopat, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician at The University of Kansas Health System Sports Medicine and Performance Center, discusses how an ACL injury can affect an athlete psychologically – along with the importance of talking about it.

Below is a Q&A Dr. Vopat did on the subject of ACL recovery.

Q: You have researched the psychological aspects of healing from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. What interested you in this topic and how did you notice this could be an issue?

A: I tore my ACL in high school and even then, I realized that it was more than just a physical injury. There was an important psychological component, as well. As a high school or college athlete, being an athlete is such a strong part of your whole identity. It's almost like you can lose a part of yourself.

Just by talking about it and making athletes aware of these psychological issues – as well as the chance of depression – patients do better.

Q: When do you bring up the psychological or emotional challenges to an athlete with this type of injury?

For the rest of the Q&A click here




The University of Kansas Hospital Sports Medicine Archive