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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2017 March;70(1):109-15

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.17.03094-0


language: English, Italian

Motor imagery and rehabilitation of a professional soccer player after anterior cruciate ligament injury: a case report

Massimiliano MANGONE 1, Andrea BERNETTI 1, Marco PAOLONI 1, Raffaele CANONICO 2, Lucrezia TOGNOLO 1, Carmine ATTANASI 1, Arianna CRUCIANI 3, Federica ALVITI 1, Valter SANTILLI 1, Alfonso DE NICOLA 2

1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 2 Federico II University of Naples, Naples, Italy; 3 “Don Carlo Gnocchi” Foundation Onlus, Turin, Italy


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries; it is the third most important injury in elite athletes after muscular strains and fractures. Generally, an early rehabilitation is needed in order to obtain an optimal restoration of both knee joint stability and sensory function. In the first part of the rehabilitation phase, when the athlete cannot get the job done in the field yet, it can be useful to perform the action observation (AO) and motor imagery (MI) training. This is a case report about a 24-year-old professional soccer player who reported an ACL injury and medial collateral ligament (MCL) during a league game. During the rehabilitation period, the player has remained in close contact with his teammates, staying on the field right away during workouts, without participating actively. The technique of “motor imagery” and action observation were applied to reinforce the effect of rehabilitation and reduce recovery times. The follow-up consisted in a muscle strength evaluation with an isokinetic test and a postural assessment using a video-raster-stereography system “Formetric”. At the end of the rehabilitation program, the player returned to the activity in less time than normal recovery time as described in literature.

KEY WORDS: Anterior cruciate ligament - Rehabilitation - Muscle strength

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Publication History

Issue published online: May 2, 2017
Manuscript accepted: March 10, 2017
Manuscript received: March 8, 2017

Cite this article as

Mangone M, Bernetti A, Paoloni M, Canonico R, Tognolo L, Attanasi C, et al. Motor imagery and rehabilitation of a professional soccer player after anterior cruciate ligament injury: a case report. Med Sport 2017;70:109-15. DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.17.03094-0

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