By Evin Grant
The most common injuries in football are pulled hamstrings, sprained ankles and dead legs. However, a far more serious injury is starting to become more prominent across the sport in recent years.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears have been on the rise in recent years and offer far more serious consequences for footballers, often ruling them out for over eight months.
Dr. Riley Williams of the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), recently explained some reasons for the ACL tear being closely associated with sports people, footballers in particular.
“High-velocity, change in direction, pivots and rotation of lower extremities can affect the function and stability of an ACL,” said Dr Williams. “ACL injuries can occur when contact is made with another player but can also arise from non-contact situations such as landing awkwardly when passing a ball.”
“Recovery time for an ACL tear can be anywhere between six months to a year”
Recovery time for an ACL tear can be anywhere between six months to a year, depending on the circumstances and professional clubs will often enlist specialist treatment and around-the-clock rehabilitation services to aide their players recovery. Notably, Florian Lejeune, of Newcastle United, who amazingly returned from an ACL tear after just six months last season.
However, for football clubs in Ireland who do not have such luxuries, an ACL tear to one of their players can be highly damaging and often lead to a prolonged length of absence. Hugh Douglas of Bray Wanderers, Darren Cole of Derry City and Gary Boylan of Sligo Rovers are all SSE Airtricity League players who have suffered an ACL injury recently.
One player who knows both the physical and mental anguish of injury is 20-year-old Bohemians striker, Cristian Magerusan. The highly rated, Romanian-born forward has suffered several metatarsal injuries and one ACL tear in the last two years alone.
“The recovery was basically like starting from the beginning”
“It was the worst pain ever when I did it,” said Magerusan about tearing his ACL. “The recovery was basically like starting from the beginning, so like small movements of the knee and trying to walk on it and all.
“It’s been a long road and mentally very tough but I feel much stronger now coming back.”
Magerusan is now nearing return following a gruelling nine months on the side-lines. He underwent ACL reconstruction surgery and was back walking without crutches just three days later.
From that point on, it has been a difficult journey for him both mentally and physically, but with a return to the pitch just around the corner, Magerusan and others show that the dreaded ACL tear can be conquered.