In every NFL season, injuries are unpredictable and come at any time. Most of the major injuries happen in the heat of battle during game time, and others during training and come in non-contact situations. These injuries mount in the latter part of the season, when the body tends to wear down from the physical fatigue. For Super Bowl contenders they make their run for the Lombardi Trophy with very few major injuries to their starters, and if there are a lot of injuries they are minor in which most return before the play offs begin.
While the human body has not evolved for different body parts, tendons or bone structure, the same type of injuries occur each year, so it is inevitable as players get bigger, stronger and faster, creating catastrophic collisions. Due to the 2011 lockout, offseason training and prevention in the form of OTAs (organized trained activities), mini-camps and weight-room training along with running sessions, is the direct result of a sharp spike in league-wide injuries.
The NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) and many athletic trainers and doctors felt the lockout would deliver more harm to the product (players), when it comes to soft tissue and tendon injuries without a proper preparation period, training camp and the mindset that is gathered during the offseason.
In late July and into early August, there were 10 players that suffered Achilles tendon injuries, occurring prior to the first preseason game. There were a total of nine players who were put on injured reserve in 2010 after the entire preseason.
Dr. Elliott Hershman, the chairman of the NFL’s Injury and Safety Committee, told the New York Times that an average of eight Achilles tendon ruptures typically occurs in a full season.
The types of injuries that have landed players on IR (injured reserve) are of the major kind, not soft tissue pulls and strains. The major injuries in all levels of football includefractured fibula/tibia, torn ACL, torn MCL, patella tendon, major concussion, ruptured Achilles tendon, fractured ankle, torn triceps, fractured femur, dislocated hip, fractured neck, torn hamstring, torn calf, vertebra/disc issues, Lisfranc, torn quadriceps, torn pectoral, torn tendons in hand, dislocated knee, dislocated elbow, fractured collarbone, fractured orbit.
Playing hard, fast and competitive on each and every play is the key to avoiding major injuries, while a good offseason of preventative training doesn’t hurt either.