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Can I play sports again?

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Old 08-05-2011, 09:02 AM   #1
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Can I play sports again?

I am going to be a Sophmore in highschool and I will probably have to undergo OATs surgery on my right ankle. I'm and athlete and played basketball almost all year round and also ran track. If I get OATs surgery, will I ever be able to play basketball on a team again?

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Old 08-05-2011, 12:16 PM   #2
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Re: Can I play sports again?

Well, it depends, and you'd have to ask the surgeon what the odds are. There will be a LONG recovery period, and the surgery might fail. But if it succeeds, you should be able to play sports again.

A few years back (2007-2008), we had a man posting here whose teenage son was a competitive figure skater. The kid had severe ankle OCD, but had successful surgery and eventually returned to skating, jumping, etc. The father posted the whole story under the name SkatersDad. If you click on Advanced Search and look for his posts, you can find his story.

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Old 08-06-2011, 10:45 AM   #3
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Re: Can I play sports again?

Agree with what JaneWhite said. Lots of variables including how well you heal, the skill of your surgeon, how well you follow post-op care instructions, how your PT goes, etc. Assuming surgery is successful, you will miss at least one season. The good news about OATS is it has a pretty high success rate and nearly all athletes who get it done are able to return to sports. I've read in studies of a success rate between 90-93%. However, success in these studies does not always mean pain free and not all the athletes return to the same level of sports as before.

It's possible you will have a wonderful recovery, miss just one season and be just as good as before. It's also possible you will miss two seasons, or that you will not be able to play as many minutes per game. You might not be able to run as often or as far as before. You can research NBA pros who got OATS or microfracture for OCD (knee or ankle) and will read how they did. Some did great, some did okay, some retired early.

Edit: A few other things to consider. Not all insurance plans cover OATS/allograft of the talus. If your insurance does not, you can try appealing to them for coverage. There are some other threads here about that. And if you do get surgery, ideally you want a doctor who has done that surgery dozens or hundreds of times, though in my experience it was hard to find a doctor who has done the OATS/allograft more than 12 times. You don't want to be your doctor's 5th microfracture or 5th OATS patient.

Last edited by LivesNearStore; 08-06-2011 at 04:21 PM. Reason: added notes on insurance and doctor's experience.

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