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Shoulder Surgery Gets NFL Players Back in the Game

THURSDAY, July 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Most professional football players who have shoulder stabilization surgery are able to return to the game, a new study finds.

Shoulder instability is a common injury among NFL players, but their rate of return after surgery to fix the problem has been unclear, the study authors explained.

The new study included 60 players who had shoulder stabilization surgery. Ninety percent of those who had this procedure successfully returned to play, defined as playing in at least one regular season game. The return rate was 82 percent for those who had open surgery and 92 percent for those who had minimally invasive (arthroscopic) surgery.

On average, players returned to play 8.6 months after surgery, according to the study that was to be presented Thursday at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine annual meeting in Seattle. Findings presented at meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"Our study highlighted the success rate of return to play following shoulder stabilization surgery. Age, number of games before surgery, and career length were not statistically different between those that returned and those that did not," study author Dr. Matthew White, of the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala., said in a society news release.

"It was also interesting to note that players selected before the fourth round of the NFL draft were 7.6 times more likely to return to play following shoulder stabilization surgery. Additional investigation on shoulder function and outcome scores long-term would also be beneficial in this group of athletes to determine better standards of care," he added.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about shoulder instability.

SOURCE: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, news release, July 10, 2014


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