Sports-related injuries requiring surgery has increased significantly in recent years. A new study has suggested that athletes who have had lower extremity surgeries before going on to play in college might be at a higher risk for another surgery independent of gender and sport.
Lead author Dean Wang from the University of California at Los Angeles said, "This is the first study to look at the relationship between pre-collegiate surgery and future injury requiring surgery in collegiate athletes. Our results say that athletes injured before college might be left with a functional deficit that puts them at risk for future injury."
The research team identified 1,142 athletes who began their sports participation from 2003-2009 at a single institution. Of these individuals 186 (16.3%) had a prior surgery, and 262 were documented for intracollegiate surgeries in 182 athletes (15.9%). Most of the injuries involved the lower extremity (59%) rather than the upper extremity (31%).
Wang said, "Young athletes feel pressure to excel and frequently participate in multiple leagues and specialize in a single sport, resulting in overuse injuries and surgeries at an early age. Our study, along with other information in the scientific literature, may also indicate that athletes may not go through enough rehabilitation before returning to play and warrants further analysis."
The research was presented at the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.