Today was the first day of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) for the NFL.  On the first day, two anterior cruciate ligament ( ACL)  tears were reported. One Sean Lee, linebacker from Dallas Cowboys, and Domenik Hixon, wide receiver of the Chicago Bears both tore their ACL’s.   images Domenik Hixon’s debut season with the Chicago Bears was over on day one.  He tore his  ACL for the third time today.  The first injury was in 2010 then in 2011.  This last injury will most likely bring an end to his career after six seasons and eight years in the league. He signed with the Bears in March after one season with the Carolina Panthers.  He spent most of his career with the New York Giants, having won two super bowl rings with them. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the main stabilizing ligaments in the knee, and it is the most commonly torn ligament in the knee.  It prevents the thighbone (femur) from moving forward on the shinbone (tibia).  It may be torn by pivoting and twisting the knee, or by hyperextension.  Landing awkwardly from a jump may also result in a torn ACL.  Symptoms include hearing or feeling a pop in the knee, swelling in the knee, pain, and a feeling of instability, especially with side to side movement.  The knee may “give way” or “buckle” with weight-bearing.  An athlete in a sport which requires pivoting, cutting, or jumping requires surgical reconstruction to prevent recurrent episodes of instability and further knee damage such as meniscus tears and cartilage damage.  The surgery involves reconstructing a new ACL from either the athlete’s own tissue or donor tissue from a cadaver.  The rehabilitation process after surgery takes several months, and return to play depends on the type of surgery and the sport, however on average the recovery time is 7 to 10 months. Hixon’s situation is more serious due to the fact that this is his third ACL rupture. Unless there is a convincing reason why his ACL reconstructions keep failing, and he develops some amazing degree of confidence on his knee after a second repeat surgery, it would be a super awesome feat for him to ever make it back into an NFL uniform.

 

Primus Sports Medicine Staff- OB