NaVorro Bowman torn ACL

Torn ACLs are a common injury sustained by football players, who are vulnerable to blows to the knee while on the field. During the 2013 National Championship game, San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman learned about this type of injury in gruesome detail when he suffered injuries to his ACL and MCL after a collision with another player.

Bowman’s Injuries

NaVorro Bowman was injured during the fourth quarter of the 2013 NFC Championship Game, played between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. Bowman’s injury occurred when Seahawks player Jermaine Kease was driven into Navarro, hitting his knee as he fell to the ground. Not only did the collision injure Bowman’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a ligament responsible for stabilization of the knee, it also tore his medial collateral ligament (MCL), a longer, larger ligament that connects the femur to the inner part of the knee.

Bowman’s Treatment

Following an examination and diagnosis of Bowman’s injuries, doctors determined that while the ACL would need surgical treatment, the MCL did not require surgery to repair. Because the MCL is supplied with more blood than other ligaments in the leg, it often responds well to conservative treatments such as rest and physical therapy. Bowman’s ACL surgery, however, was delayed until his physicians felt that the swelling in the MCL had subsided, allowing it to heal before they attempted surgical repair of the ACL. This delay allowed Bowman to enjoy a faster, more successful recovery because his recovered MCL, along with the two other healthy ligaments in his leg, was better able to support the knee during the remainder of his recovery. Although Bowman was unable to participate in the 2014 season, he returned to the 49ers’ lineup in 2015 and went on to achieve a career high of 154 tackles throughout the season’s 16 games.