Hop Performance After Return to Sport in Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Reconstructed Gaelic Football and Hurling Athletes

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Purpose: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are among the most severe injuries in the Gaelic Athletic Association. Hop tests measure functional performance after ACL reconstruction as they replicate the key requirements for a match situation. However, research examining functional recovery of ACL-reconstructed Gaelic athletes is lacking. The objective of this study is to determine if athletes restore normal hop symmetry after ACL reconstruction and to examine if bilateral deficiencies persist in hop performance following return to sport. Methods: A cross-sectional design was used to evaluate hop performance of 30 ACL-reconstructed Gaelic athletes who had returned to competition and 30 uninjured controls in a battery of hop tests including a single, 6-m, triple, and triple-crossover hop test. Results: In each test, the mean symmetry score of the ACL reconstruction group was above the cutoff for normal performance of 90% adopted by this study (98%, 99%, 97%, and 99% for the single, 6-m, triple, and triple-crossover hop, respectively). No significant differences in absolute hop scores emerged between involved and control limbs, with the exception of the single-hop test where healthy dominant limbs hopped significantly further than ACL-reconstructed dominant limbs (P = .02). No significant deficits were identified on the noninvolved side. Conclusions: The majority of ACL-reconstructed Gaelic athletes demonstrate normal levels of hop symmetry after returning to competition. Suboptimal hop performance can persist on the involved side compared with control limbs. Targeted rehabilitation may be warranted after returning to competition to restore performance to levels of healthy uninjured athletes.

Murphy and Clifford are with the School of Allied Health and Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Louw and Leibbrandt are with the Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa. Moloney is with the Department of Physiotherapy, University Hospital Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.

Murphy (m91.damien@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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