This topic is dependent on a few factors. First, is this the 1st reconstruction? Most athletes will return to actual competitive play within 9 months, some a little less and others up to a year. For 2nd or 3rd injuries there could be concern that mechanically an athlete is no protecting their body parts due fast, high paced activity. Second, what sport is that athlete returning to? A sport like baseball can commonly see athletes returning within 6-7 months if diligent with their rehabilitation exercises. Basketball and volleyball are 8-9+ months since there is a lot of jumping and landing, putting the ACL at risk. Third, how compliant are you with your training regiments? While the first two answers involve the sport and number of injuries the most important factor is whether or not the knee is prepared for competition. Working closely with your physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon, trainer, and coach an athlete that is focused and motivated stands a better chance to return faster and safer. Quad strength, single leg squat, jump/land technique, and knee control while running and cutting are just a few tests done by physical therapists to assess return to sports. These objective tests help determine whether an athlete has what it takes to return to full competition.
-SSM Physical Therapy Sports Team