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TSAOG Orthopaedics & Spine

Dr. Christian Balldin on Why the 2014 FIFA World Cup is Missing Some of Its Star Players

World cup soccer tournament

The World Cup starts today and some of the highest level soccer talent the world has to offer won’t be there.  Unfortunately, this is due to the rash of significant injuries – knee injuries in particular – we have seen over the past year.

To name a few:

  • Radamel Falcao, who plays for the Columbian national team, tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in January and is still rehabbing after surgery.
  • Kevin Strootman, Netherlands national team player, is also rehabbing from ACL reconstructive surgery after injuring his knee in March.
  • Theo Walcott, from England’s national team, is yet another player rehabbing from ACL reconstructive surgery.
  • Thiago Alcantara, from Spain’s national team, is out due to medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury and currently rehabbing.
  • Segundo Castillo, Mexican national team player, is out with a torn ACL as well.

As you can see, there are quite a few significant knee injuries keeping these great players from participating in the World Cup this year.  The ACL is one of the main ligaments in the knee that is vital for proper stability in both side to side movements and twisting motions.  In order to fully trust your knee during quick reactions and side to side movements, the ACL has to be functioning properly. Following a significant ACL injury, you will not be able to participate in pivoting sports such as soccer, football, basketball, and tennis (most sports really) without having the ACL surgically reconstructed and properly rehabbed.

Unfortunately, the rehabilitation process after reconstructive ACL surgery is quite lengthy, averaging around six months. Rehabilitation can take even longer if there were additional injuries that were dealt with during the surgery.

Hopefully, there will not be any additional significant knee injuries during the World Cup, but it is certainly a possibility due to the high intensity of these games and the forces placed on the knees of these world class athletes. Learn more about preventing ACL tears.

Dr. Christian Balldin is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group. He treats patients aged 3 years and up for sports-related injuries as well as other conditions of the shoulder, hip, and knee. He has a special interest in the minimally invasive treatment of multiligamentous knee injuries. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Balldin, please call 210.281.9595 or schedule online.

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