Magnetic resonance imaging is useful in detecting potential predisposing conditions and complications that could correlate with return to play (RTP) among professional football players, according to a study published in the journal European Radiology.
Researchers from Italy sought to determine if they could identify a correlation between RTP and sports-related injuries using MRI, which is already the gold-standard for evaluating and classifying acute injuries to the adductor longus (AL).
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The study included 20 professional soccer players who presented with acute groin pain and for whom there was clinical suspicion of AL injury related to their sport. All underwent MRIs which were performed by one radiologist and reviewed by two others. Lesions were stratified according to both Munich consensus statement and British Athletics Muscle Injury Classification (BAMIC).
The results showed the following:
Munich consensus statement:
- 75% of lesions were defined as type 3
- 25% were defined type 4
- 45% were considered as Grade 1
- 20% as Grade 2
- 10% as Grade 3
- 25% as Grade 4
Return to play was:
- 1–2 weeks for minor lesions (45%)
- 4–6 weeks for moderate lesions (30%)
- More than 6 weeks for complete lesions (25%)
“Both BAMIC and Munich consensus significantly correlated with RTP,” the authors wrote. “The extent of gap was the only independent prognosticator of RTP always present in all three different models of multivariate analysis.”
The researchers concluded that aside from using MRI to evaluate AL and classify acute lesions, the imaging could help detect potential predisposing conditions and complications, which may correlate with RTP.