The first day of voluntary Organized Team Activities (OTAs) has taken place and has claimed it’s first two season-ending injuries of the year. Los Angeles
San Diego Chargers tight end Hunter Henry and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Paul Worrilow.
Hunter Henry suffered a torn ACL during today’s practice.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) May 23, 2018
It is certainly a blow to the Chargers’ offense but more importantly for him. It was the first practice of the football season and he goes down. This is really unfortunate for the Los Angeles Chargers since several years ago their organization did an exhaustive study on why so many of their players were suffering so many injures. Hopefully this doesn’t create a domino effect.
ACL injuries are most often non-contact injuries. But they can also be caused by a forced hyperextension of the knee. Other mechanisms of damage include:
- Twisting of knee when foot is planted
- Sudden change of direction
- Landing awkwardly from jumping
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) connects the Femur and Tibia. The ACL functions to prevent excessive rotation of the knee joint and provide rotational stability of the knee and prevent the tibia from sliding forward comparatively to the femur.
With ACL injuries, they are more common in young adolescent females. The biggest risk factor for females is their anatomy which dictates some of the other factors. Since females will naturally have wider hips, it can place increased stress on the knees which influences landing patterns in girls (when they jump and land). Younger females tend not be as strong as younger males, so their hips are not as developed which can also lead to collapsing of the knees.
There are surgical and non-surgical options. In this case, surgical options are usually preferred, especially for return to sport. Surgery removes the torn ligaments and can be replaced by:
- Patellar Tendon
- Hamstring Tendon
It’s going to be a long process. Given the advancements in science he certainly could recover faster. The initial portions of rehabilitation are designed to decrease the swelling that occurred following surgery and to restore quadriceps muscle strength.
Long-term, especially for Hunter Henry, basic outcomes such as:
- restoring quadriceps and hip strength
- restoring range of motion in knee and hip
- regaining balance in on two legs and one leg
are not going to be enough. He has to learn how to make cuts and move laterally again. He needs to be able to build power (speed + strength) through his lower body again and build explosive strength. Returning to sport and returning to a high level of sport is going to be extensive in his rehabilitation. While his “traditional” physical therapy can last between six to eight months, his “sports” physical therapy/strength and conditioning will be at least two to four months before he does get cleared to participate in football-related activities.
He’s out for the year. While the science of sports recovery continues to improve and rehabilitation time decreases and recovery time from major injuries decrease, I still believe he’s out for the year. He’ll be back this time for Organized Team Activities.
Other notable injuries on the first day of Organized Team Activities:
Philadelphia Eagles Linebacker Paul Worrilow torn his ACL.