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Arthroscopic Shoulder Stabilization in High School Football Players.

BACKGROUND: Destabilizing shoulder injuries are common in high school American football players; however, the rate of recurrent glenohumeral instability and return to play after arthroscopic labral stabilization surgery remains unknown.

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The purpose of this study was to determine the rate of recurrent instability on return to competitive high school football after arthroscopic shoulder labral stabilization and capsulorrhaphy procedures. It was hypothesized that the instability rate would be greater in players with more years of eligibility remaining (YER) to play at the high school level.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

METHODS: Consecutive male high school football players with at least 1 YER who sustained at least 1 anterior traumatic inseason shoulder instability episode and underwent arthroscopic stabilization between 2012 and 2017 were identified. Patients and/or families were contacted by phone to discuss (1) recurrent instability episodes and (2) return to competitive sport and/or recreational athletic activity. Statistical analysis was conducted using chi-square tests to compare recurrent shoulder instability with return to play and YER.

RESULTS: A total of 45 football players aged 14 to 17 years were included, with a mean follow-up of 4.1 years. Most patients (60%) chose not to return to competitive football, due mainly to fear of recurrent injury. Overall, the recurrent instability rate was 15.6% (7/45). The instability rate in players who returned to football was 16.7%, with 66.7% requiring revision surgery. The instability rate in patients who did not return to football was 14.8%, with no revision procedures required. In players who returned to football, the instability rate in YER group 4 was significantly higher than that in YER groups 1 to 3 (42% vs 10.5%, respectively, P  = .03), with each year of play conferring an additional 10% risk of reinjury. There was a significant difference in the type of recurrent instability in players who returned to any sport versus those who did not ( P  = .029).

CONCLUSION: High school football players who returned to competitive play after arthroscopic shoulder stabilization surgery experienced a higher rate of recurrent instability that was dependent on their YER. Over half of the players chose not to return to football, with fear of reinjury being the most common reason.

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