Return to Play Rates Following Operative Ankle Fractures Differ Between High- and Low-Performing National Football League Athletes

Jordan B. Robbins, Daniel C. Jupiter, Vinod K. Panchbhavi, William M. Weiss, John C. Hagedorn, Jie Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigated predictive factors for return to play among National Football League athletes after operative treatment of ankle fractures and the impacts of these injuries on career longevity and player performance. Athletes who underwent surgery to repair ankle fractures from the 2013 to 2017 seasons were identified from injury reserve lists and press releases. Demographics and season metrics were collected before and after the injury. Statistical analysis assessed for differences in recorded variables between injured and uninjured players. Thirty-one players met study inclusion criteria. Twenty-two (71%) athletes successfully returned to play. Players who did not return showed no significant differences (P>.05) in position, age, body mass index, number of games or seasons played preinjury, or snaps per game the season prior to injury and had a significantly lower (42.6%, P=.013) preinjury season approximate value (SAV) compared with returning players. Returning athletes showed no significant differences (P>.05) in SAV or snaps per game compared with their preinjury season or with uninjured controls. A high preinjury SAV is associated with successful return to play. No difference in game time or performance metrics was detectable between returning players and uninjured controls, or between preinjury and postinjury seasons. [Orthopedics. 2024;47(1):22-27.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalOrthopedics
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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