About Us

AboutThe ACL Study Group

The ACL study group was organized 25 years ago by a small group of orthopedic surgeons with a common interest in the anterior cruciate ligament. Today, Dr. John Bergfeld organizes this large international study group that meets every 2 years to exchange information in an informal and friendly atmosphere.

ACL Study Group 2002

Mission Statement

The mission of the ACL Study Group is to advance the art and science of knee soft tissue surgery, rehabilitation, and injury prevention through the exchange of scientific information and debate. The ACL Study Group is committed to scientific integrity, free of financial or personal conflict of interest.

Message from John Feagin(Died 2019 – see tribute page)

The ACL Study Group was formed through serendipity not vision. The success of the ACL SG has been a result of vision and leadership especially by John Bergfeld and Peter Burkart, as well as the intellectual curiosity of the membership.

The serendipity - The meeting of the AOSSM was to be at Lake Placid, NY. I was in command of Keller Army Hospital West Point - circa 1967. I thought most folks interested in the ACL would find it possible to stop off in NYC, find their way the 75 miles to West Point, and I would arrange bus transportation from West Point to Lake Placid. The response was better than I had imagined.

A great day of discussion at West Point (where we were experiencing 100 ACL's/year) or about 6% of the Cadets ensued, and most of us travelled together to Lake Placid and continued the discussion. A key to the success was when Peter Burkart jumped up and offered to host the next meeting at Zermatt. That accomplished three things: 1. we became international, 2. the concept was exciting, and 3. we were snowed in at Zermatt and the discussions continued uninterrupted.

The original concept was management by "benign dictatorship". Bergie bought into that from the very beginning and soon unburdened me from the leadership. For Bergie it was a natural.

The ACL SG has succeeded in shrinking our world beyond my imagination and placing us on a common scientific footing. I am grateful to all who have insured this progress and success and especially to John and Peter who took us from serendipity to vision and success.

John Feagin January 2018.

Tribute to John Feagin

John Feagin was an inspirational co-founder of the ACL Study Group. He passed away on September 1st, 2019.

Message from Christian A. Guier, MD

As a tribute we show 3 links from the ACL Study Group meeting in Thailand in 2010 where he spontaneously presented his ‘exam of the knee’. His presence will be missed.

John Feagin MD Knee Examination Lecture Part 1

John Feagin MD Knee Examination Lecture Part 2

John Feagin MD Knee Examination Lecture Part 3

In memory of John A. Feagin, Jr., MD 

If there was a man whose destiny one might predict, John was that man. He practiced kindness and benevolence on all those he came across. He took the higher road towards unity and camaraderie. Throughout his life, he exercised his mind and effectuated actual mental and physical connections between his family, friends and colleagues. 

From his early days where he joined the Army as a fledgling, he rose to each occasion. John M. Tokish, MD, who interviewed JAF for a July 2014 article in Orthopaedics Today, quoted him as saying about his mentors that “They all “ruled” with ethics and integrity.” Regarding his introduction into the Sports Medicine world, John asked himself: “Is it serendipity or faith-based? I always believed the latter.” Regarding advice for future students he said: “My advice to young graduates who follow is to seek the “high road” every day in every way, contribute to your team each day; when you become a team leader, be a good shepherd; the Golden Rule will always win out and as Coach K would say before a big game, “Live in the moment.”1 In the face of competitive and interpersonal challenges, to quote Fritz Hefti, “he was a ‘we-type’ not ‘me-type’, one of those humans who had the ability to bring together people with big egos and to create something in common.”2 

In that vein, John also had a keen eye and ability to recognize potential in so many young men and women, and tactfully inspire and guide them to become the visionary leaders and huge assets in their respective fields that they have become. He set new standards by pushing himself to the farthest reaches of his universe, which, in retrospect, was so far further than we might have imagined. 

We can all learn so much from JAF’s legacy. His ability to speak to people in the language of their trade or culture, his respect for other’s heritage and views, his solid command of scientific principles and methods coupled with his gentle ability to capture an audience, left people full of thoughts and ideas of how to be better doers and achievers. He was a true visionary who availed himself to every resource, with an unprecedented personal commitment that true leadership embodies. I would like to quote Werner Mueller, in his reflection of his relationship with John, “He was a pioneering man to me in many ways; personality, “mensch”/ human and role model. He is my most important and best friend as human and scientific partner. 3 

As we take this moment to reflect on JAF, may we find solace in the hope that one man’s character has and will continue to instill the love we all have for humankind and the grace in which we can exhibit it to others. 

That was the character of this great and noble man and personality. 

We will miss you John. 

We express our deep sorrow to his family and loved ones. 

Sincerely, 

Christian A. Guier, MD September 2, 2019 

  1. Tokish, JM. Pioneer: John A. Feagin, Jr. MD Orthopedics Today, July 2014
  2. Hefti, F. Personal communication 3 Mueller, W. Personal communication

About The ACL Study Group

The ACL study group was organized 25 years ago by a small group of orthopedic surgeons with a common interest in the anterior cruciate ligament. Today, Dr. John Bergfeld organizes this large international study group that meets every 2 years to exchange information in an informal and friendly atmosphere.