Effect of Achilles Tendon Repair on Performance Outcomes After Return to Play in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Basketball Athletes.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Orthop J Sports Med


california; orange; hoag


Background: Achilles tendon (AT) ruptures are devastating injuries that are highly prevalent among athletes. Despite our understanding of the effect of AT rupture and in particular its relationship to basketball, no study has examined the effects of AT rupture and repair on performance metrics in collegiate basketball players.

Purpose: To evaluate the effect of AT rupture and subsequent surgical repair on performance metrics in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I basketball players who return to play after injury.

Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study.

Methods: NCAA Division I basketball players who sustained an AT rupture and underwent subsequent surgical repair between 2000 and 2019 were identified by systematically evaluating individual injury reports from databases comprising NCAA career statistics and individual school statistics; 65 male and 41 female players were identified. Athletes were included if they participated in at least one-half of the games of 1 collegiate season before tearing the AT and at least 1 season after operative repair. A total of 50 male and 30 female athletes were included. Each injured athlete was matched to a healthy control by conference, position, starter status at time of injury, class year, and number of games played. Matched controls were healthy players and experienced no significant injuries during their NCAA careers.

Results: After AT repair, male athletes had significantly more minutes per game, points per game, and compared with before injury. Total blocks significantly decreased after injury. Female athletes scored significantly more points per game but demonstrated a significantly lower 3-point shooting percentage after return to play. Despite undergoing AT rupture and repair, 14% of male players played in the National Basketball Association, and 20% of injured female athletes played in the Women's National Basketball Association.

Conclusion: After returning to play, men demonstrated a significant drop-off in performance only in regard to total blocks. Female athletes after AT repair demonstrated a significant improvement in points per game but had a significant drop-off in 3-point shooting percentage.

Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine