Return to Play After In-Season Shoulder Instability

More than 70 percent of intercollegiate athletes returned to playing contact sports within 1 week of experiencing in-season shoulder instability, according to a study presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. However, nearly two-thirds of the athletes who returned to play continued to have recurrent instability.

“These early results should be valuable to physicians caring for the in-season athlete with shoulder instability because we have not yet reached a consensus treatment approach on these injuries,” noted lead author MAJ Jonathan F. Dickens, MD, of the John A. Feagin, Jr., Sports Medicine Fellowship and Keller Army Hospital in West Point, New York. The study, “Return to Play following In-Season Anterior Shoulder Instability: A Prospective, Multicenter Study,” won the 2014 Aircast Award for Clinical Science.

Obtaining data
The researchers, who sought to determine the likelihood of returning to sport after in-season anterior glenohumeral instability, prospectively enrolled 45 contact intercollegiate athletes throughout the course of 2 years into a multicenter, observational study. Study participants included male and female basketball, soccer, lacrosse, or football athletes. Researchers focused on the patients’ ability to return to sport as well as the amount of time lost from sport following an acute anterior shoulder instability event. The following baseline data were collected:

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