As the rise of orthopaedic surgery participants climbs among high school athletes, with both the relatively minimized risk of procedures and continued high rates of teenage injury, a consensus has finally emerged regarding ideal recovery times following common surgeries.
A new study released today by the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia followed a group of surgical participants aged 15-24, nearly two-thirds of whom were middle school or high school students. With those subjects undergoing a wide range of orthopaedic procedures that included knee ligament, hip and shoulder operations. And while the surgical procedures have definitely improved, the study found that, on average, a patient needed to wait a full week before returning to school.
That recommendation had nothing to do with when a student-athlete can return to competition, of course. That measure is far less certain and relies significant more on individual recovery. This study focused solely on when it was safe for them to return to classes without missing more instruction or suffering a physical setback.
While a week might do it in most cases, that is in no way universal. As noted by the study, pain and restricted mobility inspired some to hold out for more time before returning to school, while psychological barriers also presented issues for others.
All of that may undermine some of the study’s thrust, but it doesn’t change its general conclusions. And some guidelines over recovery are certainly better than none. In that way, the Rothman study is a key step forward as best practices for young athletes continue to emerge from leading institutes. That’s all good news for youth and high school sports.