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Patience and Persistence: Returning from an Achilles Tear in Football

Patience and Persistence: Returning from an Achilles Tear in Football
Patience and Persistence: Returning from an Achilles Tear in Football

During the Super Bowl, we watched a player just run onto the field and tear his Achilles Tendon. Dre Greenlaw just had surgery yesterday to fix his Achilles tear, and it is becoming a much more common injury in football. We are asked all the time about the timetable on returning from an Achilles injury. I figured I would put together a little piece on tearing an Achilles tendon in case our readers wanted to learn more.

Achilles tendon injuries are among the most devastating setbacks for football players, affecting their ability to run, jump, and compete at the highest level. Recovering from an Achilles tear requires a combination of surgical intervention, intensive rehabilitation, and unwavering determination. In this article, we explore the timeline and considerations for returning to football after suffering an Achilles tear.

Understanding the Injury

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. An Achilles tear, often resulting from sudden acceleration or deceleration movements, is a severe injury that can sideline athletes for an extended period. Symptoms may include a sudden, sharp pain in the back of the ankle, swelling, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected leg.

Surgical Intervention and Rehabilitation

In most cases, surgical repair is necessary to reattach the torn Achilles tendon and restore its function fully. Following surgery, athletes undergo an extensive rehabilitation program designed to strengthen the injured tendon, improve range of motion, and gradually reintroduce weight-bearing activities. Physical therapy typically includes a combination of exercises, manual therapy, and modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation.

Timeline for Return

The timeline for returning to football after an Achilles tear can vary depending on the severity of the injury, the type of surgical procedure performed, and individual factors such as age, overall health, and level of athletic conditioning. However, most athletes can expect a recovery timeline of six months to a year before returning to full activity. It’s essential to progress through rehabilitation milestones systematically and avoid rushing the process to prevent reinjury.

Gradual Return to Football Activities

Returning to football after an Achilles tear requires a gradual and cautious approach. Athletes typically start with low-impact activities such as walking, cycling, and swimming before progressing to more dynamic movements such as running and cutting. As rehabilitation progresses, athletes gradually reintegrate sport-specific drills, non-contact practice, and eventually, full-contact practice and game play. Close monitoring of symptoms and progress is essential throughout the return-to-play process.

Considerations for Long-Term Health

While the desire to return to football may be strong, athletes must prioritize their long-term health and well-being. Rushing back to competition before the Achilles tendon has fully healed can increase the risk of reinjury and potentially lead to chronic issues such as tendonitis or tendinosis. It’s crucial to listen to the body, communicate openly with healthcare providers, and follow their guidance regarding the appropriate timing for returning to football activities.

Returning to football after an Achilles tear is a challenging journey that requires patience, persistence, and dedication to the rehabilitation process. By following a comprehensive treatment plan, respecting the body’s need for rest and recovery, and gradually reintroducing football activities, athletes can overcome this significant setback and return to the game they love stronger than ever. Remember, success in the recovery process is not just about getting back on the field; it’s about ensuring long-term health and performance for years to come.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at

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