Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Health Sciences


Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Carl G. Mattacola

Second Advisor

Dr. Lori S. Gonzalez


Bone bruise lesions (BBL) are documented on MRIs diagnosing acute knee ligament injury (AKLI). Recent evidence has indicated that a majority of patients that sustain an AKLI, especially anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injury, will develop post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) 10-20 years following injury. It has been proposed that the initial damage sustained to the articular cartilage overlying BBL causes a cascade of events that may result in PTOA.

Researchers have proposed a modification to treatment protocols for more severe BBL, or have stressed the need for the development of protective therapies to protect the articular cartilage. However, there are limited tools available to evaluate the clinical outcome of articular cartilage overlying BBL. Furthermore, damage to the cartilage overlying BBL may be different according to differing BBL severities. Therefore, the use of a cartilage degradation biomarker, serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (sCOMP) and the use of a BBL severity classification system may be useful to determine if differences exist between patients with and without BBL, and with differing BBL severities.

The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the utility of sCOMP as a biomarker for acute articular cartilage damage. The purposes of these studies were to determine the inter and intraday reliability of this marker, to document sCOMP longitudinally in collegiate athletes and following AKLI, and to determine if differences in sCOMP and self-reported pain and function exist for patients with and without BBL, and differing BBL following AKLI.

The results of these studies indicated sCOMP measures had strong inter and intraday reliability. Additionally, exercise does seem to influence sCOMP levels; however, these elevations may not be clinically meaningful. Furthermore, sCOMP levels were not different between patients with BBL and without, and between differing BBL severities. The results of these studies support the use of a BBL severity classification for future research studies in order to further elucidate the outcomes of these lesions.