The Role of Psychological Readiness in Return to Sport Assessment After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine. 2021, 49 (5), 1236-1243. 10.1177/0363546521991924
Background: Knowledge about the predictive value of return to sport (RTS) test batteries applied after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) is limited. Adding assessment of psychological readiness has been recommended, but knowledge of how this affects the predictive ability of test batteries is lacking. Purpose: To examine the predictive ability of a RTS test battery on return to preinjury level of sport and reinjury when evaluation of psychological readiness was incorporated. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2. Methods: A total of 129 patients were recruited 9 months after ACLR. Inclusion criteria were age ≥16 years and engagement in sports before injury. Patients with concomitant ligamentous surgery or ACL revision surgery were excluded. Baseline testing included single-leg hop tests, isokinetic strength tests, the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) Subjective Knee Form 2000, a custom-made RTS questionnaire, and the Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Return to Sport after Injury (ACL-RSI) scale. The RTS criteria were IKDC 2000 score ≥85% and ≥85% leg symmetry index on hop and strength test. At a 2-year follow-up evaluation, further knee surgery and reinjuries were registered and the RTS questionnaire was completed again. Regression analyses and receiver operating characteristic analyses were performed to study the predictive ability of the test battery. Results: Out of the 103 patients who completed the 2-year follow-up, 42% returned to their preinjury level of sport. ACL-RSI 9 months after surgery (odds ratio [OR], 1.03) and age (OR, 1.05) predicted RTS. An ACL-RSI score <47 indicated that a patient was at risk of not returning to sport (area under the curve 0.69; 95% CI, 0.58-0.79), with 85% sensitivity and 45% specificity. The functional tests did not predict RTS. Six patients sustained ACL reinjuries and 7 underwent surgery for other knee complaints/injuries after RTS testing. None of the 29 patients who passed all RTS criteria, and were therefore cleared for RTS, sustained a second knee injury. Conclusion: ACL-RSI and age were predictors of 2-year RTS, while functional tests were not informative. Another main finding was that none of the patients who passed the 85% RTS criteria sustained another knee injury.