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Here is what one athletic trainer experienced with an athlete's rehabilitation from injury:

I worked with an athlete who tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee, which ended his season. I was fortunate to have the experience of watching this young man progress from a college freshman who viewed the surgery and rehabilitation process like it was an insurmountable climb to a confident starter and leader of his team. I learned that the results of an athlete's rehabilitation process are determined mainly by the mentality of both the athlete and the athletic trainer. I set small goals so that he could see his progress, which gave him the motivation to continue to work hard. I also kept the rehabilitation exercises new and fresh. I noticed that he became bored with exercises after doing them for a long period of time. Therefore, it was important for me to change the exercises to keep the workout fun and to keep him interested. It was also essential for me as an athletic trainer to remain positive and verbally reward the athlete between exercises and at the end of a rehabilitation session. It was rewarding for me to see this athlete, who at one point needed my assistance to lift his leg off the table, start as a safety for his college football team.

Andrea Anderson, ATC

Adena Health System


learning outcomes

After working through this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Describe seven different goals of rehabilitation and the importance each plays in the overall rehabilitation protocol.

  2. Verbalize indications for performing knee rehabilitative techniques.

  3. Discuss modifications and progressions that are used during a rehabilitation program for the knee.

  4. Discuss outcome measures used to identify activity levels and return-to-play guidelines for knee injuries.

  5. Explain what modality is proper for rehabilitation by using indications, contraindications, and the principles and theory related to the physiological response of the intervention.


Alvin Saville is a defensive player on his school's hockey team. During practice, there is an offensive break toward the goal that leaves Mr. Saville as the last defender. The offensive center makes a move to the outside to pass. In an effort to prevent the pass, Mr. Saville sticks out his right leg to stop the center. He absorbs a hard blow to the medial side of his right knee and immediately drops to the ice. On evaluation, Mr. Saville tests positive for laxity during a varus stress test, is point tender over the lateral epicondyle, and has moderate edema on the lateral side of the right knee. The certified athletic trainer's assessment is a grade 3 lateral collateral ligament (LCL) tear and the concurrent MRI results indicate a complete LCL tear (Fig. 12-1).

Figure 12-1:

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