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20620809 tn?1504366569

High School Football Player and Torn ACL Recovery

My boy plays football in high school.  He tore his ACL and had surgery.  We have some guidelines but am wondering if anyone else has been through this and how long we should expect him to heal. Will he ever be the same?  He runs track in the spring and has been an excellent sprinter.  We're worried this could ruin his ability to have that same speed. And should he ever return to football?  
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Avatar universal
Haven't had this one myself, but research professional sports -- a whole lot of them had had this surgery.  Google that and see how many came back and how many didn't.  The one thing I can tell you is that the time it takes to come back is an individual thing -- it depends obviously on how bad this injury was and how skilled and experienced the surgeon was, but we all heal at different speeds.  The fact your son is a toned athlete will probably promote healing -- he has muscle he'll need to support it as he rehabs.  But again, people heal at different speeds, the injuries while being labeled the same aren't, but the surgeon usually can see this when the operation is done and give you pretty good guidance.  The question of playing football is a different one, however.  Part of that will be how much he enjoys it, but part of it will be up to your family to discuss.  A growing number of pros are not letting their kids play football because of the head injury problem.  If he is a good enough athlete to become a pro, and the odds of this happening are infinitesimal, the monetary reward might be worth it.  Even a college scholarship, if you can't afford to send him to college and he can't get academic scholarships, can be extremely rewarding financially.  But everyone who plays a sport at a rigorous level is going to get hurt sometime, even if it's on the playground.  Intense sports activity puts a lot of stress on the body.  The difference with football is, you're intentionally hurling yourself at other really big and strong people and they're hurling themselves at you.  The further he goes, the bigger and stronger the opponents become.  Life is short, you gotta do what you love, but most of don't jump out of airplanes and that's actually a lot safer than playing tackle football at a high level.  As a sprinter, the chances of the monetary reward disappear unless he wins a few Olympics, unlikely unless he's Jamaican at the present time.  But if he loves it, he won't have to face being attacked on every play by a giant guy with muscles the size of pumpkins.  But again, people do this because they love to do it.  And if he's truly great at it and can still be great at it after recovery, something that has no guarantee, he's probably going to do it no matter what.  I used to be a big sports fan, and I played a lot of playground basketball.  When I was a kid, we played all sports, but the one I didn't really like was tackle football -- I personally preferred flag because it just seemed silly running into to other people and having them run into me intentionally.  But it's the most popular sport on TV for a reason.  You can't fight that if he's really good at it.    
20620809 tn?1504366569
Thanks for your comments. We live in an area where football rules and all other sports going on during that season are sissy sports.  lol  Not lol though.  Lots of pressure to play football for boys.  We'll have to discuss if football will be in his future again but its a hard thing to give up once you are part of that group.  What they do to their bodies in their youth, I don't think they realize what can happen later on to those same injuries.  Pain years later is something I don't have but lots complain of. So, we'll see.

The kid made state last year which is a pretty big deal in track.  Too bad that this doesn't get the same kind of notoriety or financial reward with college.  

His surgeon did not give great feedback on how long for total recovery.  
Surgeons are often not great communicators.  They make their money doing surgery, not talking -- talking doesn't pay much.  That's a bit harsh, but also pretty much true.  But if you persist, you can get some answers.  But individuals heal differently, and so nothing he says will be able to be guaranteed -- he'll only be able to say what the average recovery is.  That's why I suggested looking at pro athletes -- they get this injury all the time, and so there's a lot to find about how recovery was different for different people.  Now, I'm 65 now and in pain all the time.  There are many reasons for this, a lot happens in life, but if I hadn't done so much heavy sports I'm sure it wouldn't be as bad.  The basketball was probably the hardest on me, but I never had a serious injury in my life -- that's still true to this day, yet I managed to mess up all parts of my body.  Again, there are other reasons for this, but it's a lesson in life -- some of us reach a point in life where maybe it's lack of sleep, maybe it's anxiety, maybe it's work, that makes us prone to losing that youthful ability to heal.  It is something to consider.  Football is the hardest of all popular American sports on the body.  Yet, Tiger Woods messed up his body playing golf, because his swing wasn't ergonomic.  People mess up their necks looking down at cell phones.  Track can be very hard on the hamstrings.  I can tell you one thing, a sprinter doesn't want a torn ACL.  So it is what it is, I doubt your surgeons can even guarantee there will be a total recovery -- nobody's the same after surgery because their bodies have been altered by the surgeon.  Not the body he was born with anymore.  It might, though, be better.  So you never know.  If he wants to be macho, try martial arts -- the fighting is also  perilous, but that's only a part of it, and there's a ton of focus on stretching and proper technique of movement.  Plus the macho.  If you decide football isn't the thing, that might be a good substitute that will keep anyone from that sissy business, which is a crock anyway, but of course you know that.
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