Post-Surgery Recovery for Athletes

Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2023

Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Exercise Science



First Advisor

Dr. Brenda Davies


The purpose of this paper is to provide information on the physiological processes of recovery, as well as active recovery, for post-ACL surgery athletes. An athlete goes through the same healing process as the general population except athletes have a fourth phase: the return to sport phase. The return to sport phase is a necessary continuum to the healing process. In order to achieve success in returning to sport, an athlete should participate in active recovery and low intensity exercise that will assist the athlete in the post-surgery recovery, as well as self-care, an important piece of the return to sport process. Although research has been done in the area of self-care post-surgery for athletes, it has been noted that there is much room for continued development. Without proper self-care, an athlete’s recovery can be disrupted due to factors such as poor nutrition and poor sleep quality, which may lead to mental health problems. With ACL injuries in the athletic population on the rise, this paper can provide a post-surgery athlete an understanding of the process that should go into the different aspects of rehabilitation of ACL reconstructive surgery.

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