Posts Tagged ‘osteoarthritis in football’

Long-Term Effects of Playing High School Football

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Back in the eighties, the Team Physician at Lenoir-Rhyne College questioned whether injuries sustained by high school football players caused more osteoarthritis. We engaged a study, to independently examine members of a local high school during their twenty-year class reunion. The subjects were examined independently by orthopaedic surgeons to determine any orthopaedic pathology which could be objectively assessed. Further, they were radiographically examined by a radiologist.

The findings were quite interesting. As one might expect, there was radiographic change merely due to the age of the subjects. However, those patients who had good medical care seemed to have less osteoarthritis. Further, patients who had undergone open surgical procedures had much more osteoarthritis than those patients treated arthroscopically.

Remember, this was about the time of the invent and advancing of the arthroscope in orthopaedics. However, the takehome message was clear – injuries were not the culprit for osteoarthritis, but possibly either the fact that grosser injury warranting open surgical intervention or the mere fact that the patient was treated with an open procedure.

The complete article is referenced below. I enjoyed working with these professionals on this article. While I learned a great deal from these peers, I probably gleaned ever more from the research and clinical process as I continued my career at other schools.

Moretz, A., Harlan, S., Goodrich, J., and Walters, R. (1984). Twenty year follow up of High School Football Injuries. The American Journal of Sports Medicine.