An ACL tear can sideline even the most accomplished athletes. This injury is particularly common in sports that involve pivoting or running, such as football and basketball. If you are an athlete who has suffered from ACL tears, you know how devastating it can be.

In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the most famous athletes who have suffered from this injury. We will also discuss the treatment options available that a professional athlete can choose from.

But to begin, let’s understand the structure of the ACL.

What is the ACL?

The knee joint is a complex hinge joint that allows the leg to bend and straighten. It is made up of the bones of the thigh, the shin, and the knee cap, as well as several ligaments that connect these bones and hold them in place.

The knee is a weight-bearing joint, meaning that it supports the weight of the body when we stand, walk, or run. The knee also allows for a small amount of rotation, which helps to stabilize the leg and knee joint.

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of four main knee ligaments responsible for our leg movements and joint stability. It’s located in the middle of the knee joint and connects the thigh bone to the shin bone.

The ACL serves two main functions: to provide stability to the knee joint and to prevent excessive forward movement of the shin bone.

In other words, the ACL helps to keep the knee stable and prevents it from hyperextending.

Risks of ACL Injuries

The risk of ACL injury is higher than most people realize, especially for young athletes participating in high-impact sports such as football, basketball, soccer, and many other high-intensity sports.

Once the ligament is torn, the knee joint is no longer as stable as it once was. This can put young athletes at a higher risk of suffering another ACL injury, as well as other serious injuries to the knee.

Additionally, muscle imbalances around the knee can also increase the risk of a second ACL injury. For example, if the quadriceps muscles are stronger than the hamstring muscles, it can put excessive pressure on the ACL, increasing the risk of tears.

This is especially true if one leg is stronger or more mobile than the other. This muscle imbalance or guarding can result in repeat injuries to an athlete’s ACL.

Professional Athletes Who Tore ACL

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson, a shooting guard for the Golden State Warriors, suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the 2019 finals. When he returned, he also tore his Achilles, which made his recovery even more challenging.

Luckily, he returned from both injuries and played a large part in the Golden State Warriors 2022 championship.

However, for older athletes, a torn ACL can be career-ending. Basketball players are especially susceptible to ACL injuries because of the quick stops and starts involved in the game. When an athlete tears their ACL, it’s a reminder of how vulnerable they are and how quickly their career can end.

Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson, previously a running back for the Minnesota Vikings, is one of the many NFL players who have suffered this type of injury. He tore his ACL during a game in 2011.

He went down after the play and was immediately taken to the hospital for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The MRI showed that he had indeed torn his ACL and also suffered other damage to his knee.

He underwent ACL repairs for the damage and was able to return to play the following season. He is widely regarded as having the quickest and most successful return from this injury in professional sports history.

While Adrian Peterson is one of the most notable examples of an NFL player suffering from a torn ACL, he is far from the only one. In fact, over the past number of years, the average number of NFL athletes that have this injury annually is between 49-59 throughout the preseason and regular season.

Tom Brady

American football quarterback Tom Brady has suffered some injuries throughout his career, but one of the most serious was his ACL tear on his right knee. This injury occurred during the 2008 season when Brady was hit low by a Kansas City Chiefs linebacker.

The impact caused Brady’s leg to bend awkwardly, resulting in an ACL tear. Following surgery, Brady worked diligently to rehab his knee and regain a full range of motion.

Despite the severity of the injury, Brady was able to make a full recovery and continues to enjoy success on the gridiron, winning numerous championships.

Comprehensive List of Professional Athletes Who Tore Their ACL in 2023


  • Andrew Dowell – Saints
  • Andrew Voorhees – Ravens
  • Ashton Dulin – Colts
  • Bryce Ford-Wheaton – Giants
  • Cory Trice Jr. – Steelers
  • Daniel Jones – Giants
  • Grady Jarrett – Falcons
  • Jack Conkin – Browns
  • James Lynch – Vikings
  • Jesse Matthews – Texans
  • Jonas Griffith – Broncos
  • Kendrick Bourne – Patriots
  • Kyler Murray – Cardinals
  • Mike Williams – Chargers
  • Nick Chubb – Browns
  • Ryan Jensen – Buccaneers (no surgery)
  • Scott Quessenberry – Texans
  • Talanoa Hufanga – 49ers
  • Tommy Doyle – Bills
  • Trevon Diggs – Cowboys
  • Tyler Davis – Packers

Women’s Soccer

  • Beth Mead
  • Catarina Macario
  • Christen Press
  • Delphine Cascarino
  • Fran Kirby
  • Hazel Nali
  • Janine Beckie
  • Jennyfer Limage
  • Katie Rood
  • Keira Walsh
  • Leah Williamson
  • Mallory Swanson
  • Marie-Antoinette Katoto
  • Sam Mewis
  • Vivianne Miedema

Men’s Soccer

  • Emiliano Buendia
  • Ivan Perisic
  • Javier Hernandez Balcazar
  • Jurrien Timber
  • Neymar da Silva Santos
  • Pablo Gavira
  • Rico Henry
  • Solomon March
  • Tyrone Mings
  • Wesley Fofana


  • Kirby Dach – Canadiens
  • Mason Shaw – Wild
  • Taylor Hall – Blackhawks


  • Dru Smith – Heat
  • Robert Williams III – Trail Blazers
  • Vlatko Cancar – Nuggets


  • Christyn Williams – Mercury
  • Kristi Toliver – Mystics


  • Austin Beck – Athletics
  • Garrett Cleavinger – Rays
  • Gavin Lux – Dodgers
  • Tucupita Marcano – Padres


  • Mark Zuckerberg – Meta

ACL Tears: Female Athletes Vs. Male Athletes

Studies have shown that female athletes are at a greater risk of suffering an ACL tear than their male counterparts. While the reasons for this are not fully understood or at least concrete in all cases, some experts believe that it may be due to differences in hormones, muscle strength, and ligament flexibility.

Whatever the cause, the fact remains that ACL tears are a serious issue for female athletes, especially those who compete at the professional level. In many cases, these injuries can end a career prematurely. As such, it is important for female athletes to take precautions in order to reduce their risk of suffering an ACL tear.

For example, they can focus on strengthening their leg muscles, increasing their flexibility, and using proper technique when jumping and landing. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent an ACL tear, these measures can help reduce the likelihood of suffering this devastating injury.

Mental health Effects of Tearing ACL

When an athlete tears their ACL, the effects can be devastating. Not only does it mean months of grueling rehab, but it also takes a toll on mental health. Athletes who suffer ACL injuries are at increased risk for anxiety, depression, and even PTSD.

The physical pain and frustration of being sidelined can be difficult to cope with, and many athletes feel hopeless about their future. Klay Thompson, for example, suffered a torn ACL in 2019 and has spoken openly about his battle with depression.

Similarly, Tom Brady has said that his recovery from a torn ACL was one of the most challenging experiences of his life. For many athletes, the mental health effects of a torn ACL can be just as debilitating as the physical ones.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options for ACL Tear

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy may be recommended for some patients with a torn ACL. This option is often most successful when started soon after the injury occurs. physical therapists and athletic trainers work with patients to improve range of motion, muscle strength, and flexibility. A rehabilitation program generally lasts until the athlete returns to play.

Athletes who return to high-level sports may need to continue physical therapy indefinitely to prevent another ACL tear. Some studies have shown that physical therapy may be as effective as surgery in treating ACL tears, especially in young, active patients.

Surgery is usually recommended when other methods have proven unsuccessful.

Applying Ice

Applying ice to the knee is a simple and effective way to reduce inflammation and pain. Ice should be applied for 20-30 minutes at a time, several times a day. It’s also important to rest the knee and avoid activities that may exacerbate the injury.

Hamstring muscles surrounding the knee can help to support the joint and take some of the stress off of the ACL. Strengthening these muscles can help to prevent further injury and improve knee stability.


There are a number of different types of medication that can be used, and the most effective type will vary from person to person. In general, however, most people find that a combination of anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications provides the best relief.

These medications can be taken orally or injected directly into the affected area. While medication can have a significant effect on symptoms, remember that it does not address the underlying injury. As a result, it is often used in conjunction with other treatments, such as physical therapy, and/or surgery.


ACL Surgery

ACL reconstruction surgery is a common procedure performed by an orthopedic surgeon to repair a torn ACL. It involves making a few small incisions around the knee and then using a graft to reconstruct the ligament. The surgeon will then secure the graft in place with screws.

In most cases, ACL surgery is successful in restoring full function to the knee joint. However, it’s important to note that a period of rehabilitation will be necessary following surgery in order to regain a full range of motion and strength.

Take Care of Your ACL

In conclusion, it’s very essential to take care of your ACL. Good candidates for ACL surgery are usually young people who play their sport at a high level, and the ACL injury has left their joint unstable.

Sports fans often do not realize how important the ACL is until they, or their favorite athlete, injure it. That is why it is so important to stretch and warm up before playing any sport.

If you take care of your ACL and train your joints appropriately, then you will be able to minimize the likelihood of having any serious injuries in the future.

Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

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