Like every NFL season, the preparation leading up to the first game involves hours of training that puts stress on joints, tendons and muscles. The result is both short or long term injuries that require intense rehab or surgery to repair the damage to these athletes.
Commissioner Goodell has taken the proper steps and measures to protect today’s football players with the rising number of injuries. Committees were formed to help educate and consult the NFL in many areas of health related issues. They brought in outside help in and independent experts in different fields of study. These committees are consultants to the commissioner in equipment safety, injury data as it relates to the human body after a minor or catastrophic injury and what treatment strategies are in place. They also have advanced the educational outreach directed at attacking the issues not only at the NFL level, but for the youth as well.
The committee that is getting most of the attention is the one responsible for the head, neck and spine. Their main concentration is the study of brain trauma with all collision sports, especially football. Within the committee there are several sub-committees and consultants. Other committees formed are Injury and Safety, Foot and Ankle, Cardiovascular Health and Medical Grants.
The most common football related injuries comes in the way of soft tissue sprains, strains and torn muscles or ligaments. If minor, they are treatable by ice, elevation and rest. Modern medicine is used to speed up the process. It is not common to hear of fractured fingers, wrist, legs or arms as a result of an explosive collision or the player falling to the ground wrong.
In my fifteen years in the NFL as a personnel man I have seen it all from torn groins and quadriceps to ruptured spleens and major concussions where the player could not remember his name for several hours at the end of the game.
The 2012 off season started with the Baltimore Ravens’ star defensive end Terrell Suggs tearing his Achilles tendon playing basketball; a sport like football that also involves change of direction, short area burst and acceleration and jumping. Now the Ravens find themselves wondering how to replace a man that accounted for 37% of their defensive production.
Here are some other notable NFL players dealing with injuries at or during training camp:
Scott Wells (Rams) – Right knee arthroscopic procedure in spring, missed all OTA’s and mini-camp, target date of return third or fourth preseason game.
Jason Hunter (Broncos) – Tore his triceps in practice.
Jason Witten (Cowboys) – Suffered a spleen injury which generated some internal bleeding, out several weeks.
James Harrison (Steelers) – Left knee issues with major swelling, had knee arthroscopic surgery 8-15-12 to repair and will most likely miss the season opener against the Broncos.
Chris Neild (Redskins) – Tore his left ACL injured at practice on Monday.
Brian Urlacher (Bears) – Had an arthroscopic debridement procedure on his left knee
Travelle Wharton (Bengals) – Suffered a season ending knee injury last week with a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) to the right knee.
Shaun Rogers (Giants) – Out for the season due to a blood clot in his calf. Rogers was to visit a team of orthopedic and vascular surgeon’s to get a better handle on his medical condition. This condition is what Tommy Frazier, former QB from Nebraska, dealt with and it derailed his professional career.
Chris Kuper (Broncos) – Fractured Left Ulna Forearm, will miss up to six weeks
Nnamdi Asomugha (Eagles) and Greg Jennings (Packers) – Both suffered concussion like symptoms and must pass the series of test in order to get back on the field.
Pat Angerer (Colts)– Fractured bone in his foot, surgery is required and he will miss up to six weeks.
James Starks (Packers) – Suffered a turf toe an injury to the joint of the Great Toe, this could pleague him most of the season, and needs rest to heal.
Trent Richardson (Browns)- Had an arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to clean up loose bodies per source.
Santonio Holmes (Jets) – Sustained a Rib injury during training camp and will not participate for the second week of the preseason.
Ryan Mathews (Chargers) – Suffered a broken clavicle in preseason game aganist the Packers. Outlook for injury is a 4-to-6 week window.
While the goal is to protect and educate through health and safety, there will always be injuries in the game of football. The men that play the game today are bigger, stronger and faster than the men that played before them and therefore the impact of the collision will be greater on an average and the injuries will continue to escalate.