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Return to Australian rules football after acute elbow dislocation:
A report of three cases and review of the literature.

Verrall GM. J Sci Med Sport 2001 Jun;4(2):245-50

Acute elbow dislocation is an uncommon problem encountered in contact sports such as Australian Rules Football [ARF]. Previously there have been few guidelines presented as to when the athlete can safely return to sport following such an injury. During the 1998 playing season the author as medical officer of a professional ARF team encountered three athletes who had an elbow dislocation. All resulted from a fall on an outstretched hand during competition. The athletes returned to football at 13 days, 21 days and 7 days respectively. All subsequently completed the football season without re-injury and at post-season clinical review and one year subsequent to this no athlete described residual symptoms nor was there any loss of range of motion of the elbow joint. Clinical recommendations that allow for athletes to make a safe and early return to contact sport following an episode of acute elbow dislocation include; 1) commencing active mobilization as soon as possible after injury, 2) using passive mobilization to attain full extension as soon as possible, 3) allowing the athlete to return to training before full extension is achieved and 4) allowing the athlete to return to contact sport as soon as full extension is achieved with assistance of elbow stability taping.

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