Return to Play After Hip Arthroscopic Surgery for Femoroacetabular Impingement in Professional Soccer Players Commentary
Almost a quarter of a million people suffer injuries playing soccer, the most popular and increasingly growing sport in the world. One in every seven soccer injuries is due to a pathology in the hips. Particularly with femoroacetabular (hip) impingement syndrome (FAIS), athletes commonly feel pain, reduced range of motion, and decreased performance. For professional athletes, this may mean the cost of their salaries or even livelihoods. As families and teams expectedly ask their team physicians “when will they be able to return to the field”, the medical staff may not be able to provide an exact timeline as professional athletes return at a different rate to nonathletes. With limited current literature regarding professional soccer players and their return to play after hip arthroscopic surgery for the treatment of FAIS, the authors collected information on 24 professional soccer athletes to determine the rate of return to sport and identify possible risk factors associated with a delay in return to play in these high-performance athletes. The study found that surgical management in symptomatic professional soccer players allowed 96% of them to return to play. The mean time between surgery and the first professional game played was around 9 months. Players with national team experience, though usually older, were able to return to play even earlier than those without it. Other factors, such as severe chondral damage, microfracture, and age did not interfere with an athlete’s ability to return to play. Overall, soccer players can likely have high expectations to return to the field within a year as almost all those studied in the current investigation were successfully able to play at the highest levels of a sport over 200 million people play around the globe.