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Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

Distal biceps ruptures in National Football League players: return to play and performance analysis

Published:December 26, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2020.11.010

      Background

      Distal biceps ruptures are rare injuries that tend to occur at a younger age in high-level athletic populations. Data analyzing athletes’ ability to return to play, as well as performance, after surgery for a distal biceps rupture are lacking.

      Methods

      All National Football League (NFL) players from the 2000-2016 seasons who were found to have a surgically treated distal biceps rupture were included. Analysis of performance and career length was conducted with a control group matched for position, age, experience, and performance statistics. Data for the cohort vs. control group, as well as before vs. after injury, were analyzed with the paired-samples Student t test, with P < .05 deemed statistically significant.

      Results

      We identified 35 NFL players for the study; 33 (94%) were able to return to sport at an average of 351.4 ± 123.9 days. Offensive linemen undergoing surgery played fewer games per season compared with the control group (P = .04). However, the average number of seasons after surgery and after the index date was not found to be significant (P > .05). Mean career length, as well as number of games per season, did not differ in the postsurgical group vs. control group (P > .05) for all other positions. Performance scores within skill players did not prove to be significant between the postoperative and control groups (P > .05).

      Conclusions

      Distal biceps ruptures treated surgically in NFL players allow for return to play at a high rate. The level of performance after surgery is similar to that of the player before injury. On average, NFL career length does not appear to be affected after distal biceps surgery.

      Level of evidence

      Keywords

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