NBC Nightly News—June 18, 2008
The ACL injury that has sidelined Tiger Woods for the rest of the 2008 season is, while common, a more serious injury than the golfer let on in his public acknowledgment of it on June 18.
Spectators at Torrey Pines noticed a pronounced limp and grimace as Woods played in the U.S. Open despite his injury. Woods later admitted on his website to having a ruptured ACL as well as two stress fractures of the tibia, noting that he would be having reconstructive surgery to repair the damage.
"ACLs are not degenerative injuries...They're high-load twisting, hyper-extension injuries." said Dr. David W. Altchek from Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. "He was playing on an unstable knee for maybe a year, maybe longer. The reason we don't let some athletes play without their ACL is for fear of cartilage damage."
An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from sports-related injuries every year, but when there are multiple injuries or surgeries involved, the risks of lasting effects on performance increase.
"Multiple surgeries are not good for the environment of the knee," Altchek said. "This is a serious injury."
This story originally appeared on NBC News.