In addition to being a surgeon for the Santa Monica (Calif.) Orthopedic Group, Bert Mandelbaum is part of an NFL program studying prevention of anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Jaguars first-round defensive end Dante Fowler tore his left ACL during rookie minicamp May 8. Fowler’s injury was non-contact, which is what I talked to Mandelbaum about earlier this month. He said of the 62 ACL tears during the 2013 NFL season, 18 were non-contact like Fowler.
“Football used to be played between the hash marks, and now it’s wide open like soccer,” Mandelbaum said. “We believe part of the issue we have to focus on is helping athletes on how to land and de-accelerate.
“Non-contact ACL injuries are common in basketball and soccer and are alarmingly high among female athletes. I was very surprised to see so many in football. Not to say it’s an alarming trend, but to see the same thing as in those other sports is interesting.”
Mandelbaum said wearing a brace wouldn’t have prevented Fowler’s injury.
Fowler had surgery 19 days after the injury, and Mandelbaum said it is correct to assume he can regain his form.
“Many of these high-level players can come back to their [previous] level of play and sometimes be even better in the first year after the injury,” he said.