NFLPA, NFL say nothing unusual about number of preseason injuries


Several teams have found themselves changing plans this preseason after seeing a key player go down with a season-ending injury and the growing number of such injuries have some people wondering if those injuries have become more prevalent.

Both the NFL and the NFL Players Association say that they haven’t. The loss of players like Jordy Nelson, Kelvin Benjamin, Orlando Scandrick, Ryan Clady and Junior Galette may leave teams shorthanded, but both the league and the union told Mark Maske of the Washington Post that there’s nothing unusual about the number of severe injuries to this point in the season.

“As a physician, your heart goes out to these guys,” NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer said. “You feel so bad for them. These guys put so much into this and it’s such a letdown for them, for their teams, for the fans. [But] as a research scientist, you have to say, ‘Let’s look at this over time.’ Statistically it doesn’t look like it’s a trend. Unless it continues at this pace for some time, it doesn’t look like anything out of the norm. But for each of these guys individually, it’s 100 percent of their experience. It’s a setback professionally and it’s very difficult personally.”

There have been coaches and others around the league that have shared their opinion that reductions in the number of practices and amount of hitting in those practices in the 2011 CBA have left players more vulnerable to injuries. Others argue that the league’s crackdown on high hits has left players at greater risk to knee injuries, but, per the league’s injury data, the number of ACL and MCL injuries has remained fairly steady in the last few years and, as we saw with Nelson and other players, many torn ACLs are non-contact injuries.

It’s still a subject that the league, union and teams should explore in order to make the game as safe as possible, but the end result may still be that playing football carries an inherent risk of injury that can’t be totally eliminated.

14 responses to “NFLPA, NFL say nothing unusual about number of preseason injuries

  1. I have a sense that crappy field maintenance and/or poor selection of shoes/spikes that should be based on any particular day’s field condition may well have something to do with these non-contact injuries.

  2. They did put out no name teams during the strike year in the eighties. I thought it would be horrible. It wasn’t – it was pretty damn good. A new league with a good TV contract could do very well. All you all out there would be pleasantly surprised. There’s still be injuries however.

  3. Could it be that the players are getting too big and muscular?

    The tendons/joints/ligaments/bones can’t be strengthened, and these players are bigger and heavier every year.

    What about artificial turf? Any studies to see if more injuries occur on turf rather than real grass?

    To the layman, it sure looks like there are a lot more serious injuries in the preseason and practices than remembered.

  4. who says there are more injuries this year? i read a couple of days ago that the number of season-ending injuries this year is comparable to the last two years at this point in the preseason. it probably just seems like there have been more since they have happened to star players – not as big of a story when less prominent players are lost for the season.

  5. Out of 2 weeks, no, the numbers are not unusual. It just seems like they are because a lot of them are star players, and get highlighted.

  6. You have shoe suppliers making high-traction/ankle support cleats and stadiums installing high-tech playing surfaces. Now throw in the “bigger, faster, stronger” players of today and tell me where the “give” happens?

    It happens at the weakest point.. the knee.

    The cleats of today, combined with the high-traction playing surfaces just don’t allow the surface or shoe to give when torque is generated.

    Simply put (sadly), there is to much money in sponsorship deals to study this effect on player safety and the possible results.

  7. So is it really unusual? I can remember plenty significant injuries to high profile players over the years. Any real data to back up the claims? Also non contact injuries can’t be blamed specifically on football. They can happen in any sport where you have to quick movements

  8. I think the CBA is the cause of many of these injuries. The agereement limits the practice time for players as well as interface with team personnel. This reduced practice time has left many players out of football shape when the time came to put out a full effort. Hence the spate of injuries. IMHO

  9. I agree and think that the CBA agreement has inadvertently caused the players to not be in the shape they need to be in,imagine if the Navy Seals were to cut back in their grueling training,there would be casualties galore,the extra contact in camp is what football players need to be in the best shape for a long,tough season.

  10. The NFLPA is downplaying the injuries because they are the ones that negotiated reduced off season programs that typically got players in better shape so they weren’t experiencing all these injuries. Next thing they will lobby for reduced preseason games meaning that players will be getting injured in game 1 and 2 of the regular season, too late to bring in someone and get them in shape and acquainted with the system. While players want to do less, in reality, it is doing less that is causing all these injuries, not including all the soft tissue injuries (hamstrings, quads, groins etc…) that are plaguing players this year. The NFL and NFLPA need to rethink this and if they do reduce the preseason games, they need to increase the off season work to get these guys into condition.

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