Predictors of Length of Career After Hip Arthroscopy for Femoroacetabular Impingement in Professional Hockey Players.Am J Sports Med 2016; 44(9):2286-91AJ
Previous studies have shown that professional hockey players return to sport at a high rate after hip arthroscopy, although it is unknown how long players continue to compete at a professional level after surgery.
To determine the prevalence of athletes who continued playing in the National Hockey League (NHL) for a minimum of 5 years after hip arthroscopy for treatment of symptomatic femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and to determine predictors associated with length of career.
Case series; Level of evidence, 4.
A total of 60 professional hockey players (69 hips) underwent hip arthroscopy for FAI by a single surgeon between 2005 and 2010. Data were retrieved from NHL.com and Hockey-reference.com regarding information on each player's professional career. Position played, age, surgical procedure, and intraoperative findings were also used in data analysis.
There were 12 centers, 15 defensemen, 16 goalies, and 17 wings studied. Of the 60 athletes, 40 (67%) continued to play professionally a minimum of 5 years after hip arthroscopy. As of the 2015 season, the mean length of a player's NHL career was 13.7 years (range, 2-27 years), with an average of 5.9 years played after hip arthroscopy. There was no difference in length of career or years played when goalies were compared with other positions (P = .760). Length of career and years played after arthroscopy correlated with age at surgery (r = 0.799 and -0.408, respectively). Players who played ≥5 years after arthroscopy were significantly younger than those who did not (25 vs 30 years; P = .001). Athletes who played <5 years after arthroscopy had a longer average duration of symptoms before surgery when compared with those who played ≥5 years (20.2 vs 9.3 months; P = .049). There were no differences in length of career or years played after arthroscopy based on type of labral treatment.
Professional NHL players who underwent hip arthroscopy for FAI were able to continue playing for an average of 5.9 years after surgery, with 67% playing a minimum of 5 years postoperatively. Younger age and shorter duration of symptoms at time of surgery correlated with greater length of career and years played after hip arthroscopy. Players who did not play a minimum of 5 years postoperatively had significantly longer duration of symptoms before surgery. The study data support early arthroscopic treatment of professional hockey players with symptomatic FAI.