This blog post is written by Dr. Joe DeAngelis, an orthopedic surgeon in the Division of Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). Dr. DeAngelis is an industry-leading expert in sports injuries and disorders of the knee, shoulder, and elbow.
The Patriots triumphed over the Cleveland Browns in yet another come from behind win on Sunday. Despite the dramatic finish, the victory was overshadowed by Rob Gronkowski’s season-ending injury in the 3rd quarter. After catching a pass, Gronkowski was struck on the outside of his right knee by a defensive player, causing it to buckle inward during the tackle.
It’s common for football players to sustain ACL and MCL injuries when struck with this level of blunt force, especially in combination with the angle at which Gronkowski was tackled. Had the impact been sustained only an inch or two higher, Gronkowski may have only suffered a bruised thigh. Unfortunately, because he was struck at the knee as his foot touched down, his knee absorbed all of the force.
The BIDMC Division of Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery examines and treats many athletes that have sustained injuries similar to Rob Gronkowski’s. While ligament injuries often occur as a result of traumatic force to the knee, there are a variety of ways they can occur. Any activity that requires rapid deceleration and quick change of directions can result in the same injury suffered by Gronkowski.
While there are many factors affecting an athlete’s recovery, Gronk will probably be back on the field next season, taking 7-10 months to fully recover.We at BIDMC Sports Medicine wish Rob Gronkowski the best of luck and a speedy recovery.