Return to Sport Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: Women's Soccer


  • Lenore Herget DPT, SCS, MEd, CSCS Massachusetts General Hospital Sports Physical Therapy, Boston, Massachusetts USA



soccer, ACL, reconstruction, rehabilitation, protocol, female, athlete


Soccer is largely recognized as the most popular sport in the world. It involves speed, agility and endurance, requiring its athletes to sprint, explode to the ball, change direction and maintain high thresholds of work for prolonged periods. In the United States, as many as 80,000 high school female athletes experience ACL injuries each year. Females tend to be more at risk for ACL injury for a multitude of reasons including biomechanical, neuromuscular activation patterns, strength imbalances and hormonal factors. Athletes and their families are becoming increasingly aware of this risk and the subsequent risk of not returning to their pre-injury level of play; thus, necessitating both preventative and post injury rehabilitation programs aimed at maximizing function and minimizing subsequent injury. A program that focuses on neuromuscular activation patterns, proprioception and balance training, functional strength, agility, landing techniques and quality of footwork is best for mitigating risk of ACL injuries in female soccer players. This post-surgical ACL reconstruction rehabilitation program for the female soccer player has been divided into five phases, each phase a progression and building upon its preceding phase. The phases range from early post-operative care to late stage, pre-clearance to return to sport guidance and have been constructed based on evidence informed guidelines focusing on maximizing function post operatively in a safe, efficient manner while minimizing risk for re-injury.


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How to Cite

Return to Sport Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: Women’s Soccer. (2022). Journal of Women’s Sports Medicine, 2(2), 70-82.

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