Breece Hall, the star rookie running back for the NY Jets, has been diagnosed with an anterior cruciate ligament tear. He has been placed on IR with this season ending injury where he will shortly have surgery to reconstruct his ligament. Prior to his injury he had already amassed 463 yeard on 80 carries for a 5.8 yard/carry average. For the last several games he was the main man of the offense. The big question is what are Breece’s chances of returning next year and playing again on such a high level?
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are common in the National Football League. In a 5 Year study 62 athletes in the NFL tore their ACL each year. Most occurred during games as compared to practice and there was a higher rate in preseason games than in the regular season. The numbers on long term return to play after an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the NFL is bleak. In a study of 312 ACL injuries in the NFL 174 or 55.8% returned to play, but only 28.5% remained in the league 3 years post injury. Quarterbacks were the most likely to return to play at 92.9% vs 53.7% for all the other players. Running backs, defensive linemen, and linebackers performed the worst after injury. In another study on ACL tears in the NFL from 2013-2015 there was no difference in RTP for players with less than 4 years experience compared with those who played longer, but there was a difference in RTP depending on where the athlete was picked in the draft. Players picked in the first 3 rounds were 4.44 times more likely to RTP than athletes picked in rounds 4 or higher.
So for Breece Hall his high level of play and high draft status does improve his chance of return even though as a running back his chances are decreased. Jet fans will have to hope for the best for their young star.
Am J Sports Med. 2021 Jun;49(7):1786-1793.Epub 2021 Apr 30. Epidemiology of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears in the National Football League Riann M Palmieri-Smith 1, Christina D Mack 2, Robert H Brophy 3, Brett D Owens 4, Mackenzie M Herzog 2, Bruce D Beynnon 5, Kurt P Spindler 6, Edward M Wojtys 1
Orthop J Sports Med. 2016 Oct 25;4(10) Variables Affecting Return to Play After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in the National Football League. Emmanuel D Eisenstein 1, Nathaniel L Rawicki 2, Nicholas J Rensing 1, Nicholas A Kusnezov 1, Joseph T Lanzi 1
Orthop J Sports Med. 2022 Mar 7;10(3) Return to Play and Performance After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction in National Football League Players. Kush S Mody 1, Amanda N Fletcher 2, Craig C Akoh 2, Selene G Parekh 2