ACL tears are all too common in the sporting world, but a new study says the leg injury may be much more serious than many believe.

Fifty percent of athletes who had knee reconstruction surgery didn't perform as well as they did before being injured, according to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

This could shed some light on Tiger Woods' troubles on the golf course. Woods had ACL reconstruction in 2008 on the his left knee, the same one he had arthroscopic surgery on three times prior. His performance has slipped dramatically since returning to the PGA Tour.

Researchers looked at 314 men and women in Australia who had ACL surgeries, and found 68 didn't play as well as they had in the past and a third (106) quit playing sports altogether, Reuters reports.

Nearly 150,000 ACL injuries happen each year in the United States. Many of our biggest sports stars have suffered the injury.

If you're a big-name athlete like Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the operation is paid for. However, if you are an average Joe who ends up paying for it yourself, this surgery is expensive -- with a $6,000 to $9,000 price tag. The good news is that most health insurance covers the procedure, since it's considered medically necessary.

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