Players say Chiefs discourage them from reporting injuries, have NFL’s worst training staff

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
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The NFL Players Association says the Super Bowl champion Chiefs have dropped the ball on player health.

The union’s report card for all 32 teams ranked the Chiefs dead last in training staff, giving them a grade of D- and saying that many players have major concerns with head trainer Rick Burkholder.

“They feel discouraged from reporting their injuries,” the NFLPA says of players on the Chiefs. “They do not feel they get the level of personal care that they should. They fear retribution for speaking up for better care.”

On the field, the Chiefs are the top team in the league, but the NFLPA survey found that players don’t think much of the way the franchise treats them. The Chiefs also got poor marks for an outdated facility and for uncomfortable travel arrangements, and overall the NFLPA ranked the Chiefs 29th of the 32 teams.

79 responses to “Players say Chiefs discourage them from reporting injuries, have NFL’s worst training staff

  1. Hey if bottom rankings means superbowls, the fins are in! To bad they don’t rate the owners, we would be in the bottom tier.

  2. Hard for me to put much weight behind anything the NFLPA says if I’m being honest. These report cards just seem like their way at getting back at teams that don’t throw boatloads of cash around every year in FA.

  3. As a Patriots fan one thing I don’t miss is the pile on after winning the trophy. The media can’t hype any more so they pick at things looking for a way to tear down. In the end its all material.

  4. The QB plays while jacked up on pain killing shots in full view of everyone. What do you think is happening to the rest of the team?

  5. Weird that this kind of stuff is coming up now. Maybe I’m just reading the text the way I want to but it seems like the players are whining. “an outdated facility and for uncomfortable travel arrangements”, “They fear retribution for speaking up for better care.”

    Uncomfortable travel arrangements? Really? And what retribution would they get from a trainer? A shorter massage?

  6. We’ll hope this is not as bad as it sounds.

    But, I’ll say this….the whole organization looked pretty happy hoisting another Lombardi trophy.

    It’s not like people were not on injury reports or sat out at all.
    And those that were on the bubble of playing were kept out until safe to play…..I.e. hardman. Who is complaining anyway, current players or past players that got hurt and lost their starting jobs while hurt. That happens on all teams, especially good teams.

  7. This is actually great news for Kansas City and will help keep them on top. If a free agent player is injury prone, wants to hang out in the trainer’s room all the time instead of practicing with the team, and wants the team to discourage him from playing and winning a super bowl, sign with somebody else. If you love football and have a strong body, want to get on the field as much as possible, and want to go to a team with a staff that encourages you to be the best football player you can be, and win super bowls, go to the Chiefs.

  8. Just shows you how powerful good coaching is. Raiders have the best facilities, equipment etc., and the Chiefs have the worst but the reason they win is because of the lightyears better coaching they have. Only real conclusion to make from all those player surveys this week.

  9. I gotta admit I always thought Rick Burkholder was just a guy on the sidelines that handed out Gatorade Towels !

  10. When is the survey about the player union coming out? This team survey is utter garbage.

  11. You KNOW Kadarius Toney and Frank Clark were staring conspicuously at their shoes during team meetings as soon as this report was released lol

  12. The team knows that as long as Mahomes is good it’s all that matters. The players are kept in line and win so nothing will change. You don’t mess with success. We heard the same stuff in NE when they were winning.
    Look at the Steelers, Tomlin coddles his players and they can’t win playoff games.

  13. Lets get real, looking at each teams overall placement, the teams that have won the super bowl in the last five years rank 25th to 29th.
    Obviously, jult like in many other skill and even educational performance outcomes, being pampered doesn’t create great success.

    I’m sure long time veterans of the league like Andy Reid, Bill Belichick and those who have visited every team for years (I’m talking to you Peter King) would tell you these kids playing in this league today have it much,much better than they did in their younger years.

  14. Maybe it’s Andy Reid drawing fake mustaches on the players? I am sure he will get to the bottom of it….

  15. Not surprising since the NFLPA and NFL also fails retired players when they file work-related medical claims. Virtually every claim is rejected and ends up in arbitration or court before it’s reluctantly paid in some instances! Players needlessly suffer physically, financially and emotionally because the league and union constantly lets them down. So, this doesn’t surprise me at all!

  16. I guess this is confirmation that an elite training staff isn’t a prerequisite to winning championships.

  17. they also embellish and over act on the field to make themselves seem tougher than they really are.

  18. There’s Mahomes and 52 other guys. If you’re one of those 52 you’re completely expendable, while he gets the royal treatment.

  19. The head trainer is going to give retribution for reporting an injury? Is he also assistant General Manager? Does the trainer give them an ice bath when they should be getting a hot tub treatment?

  20. Wouldn’t have thought this about KC. But you’d be surprised at what you see around the multi-billion dollar league. Any of the major sports leagues really. They’re businesses and some people like to cut corners.

  21. LOL, sure. Must have been Tyrann Mathieu and Tyreek filling out their survey as they watched KC win the whole thing without them. Afraid to report injuries? This is an organization that once let Eric Berry sit out basically an entire season because his “spirit” wasn’t interested in playing.

    So the bottom line is, if you need to be pampered like a Gen Z toddler and have your ouchies kissed, don’t come to the Chiefs. If you want to play for the best GM and owner in football, under a HOF coach and alongside 3 HOF players while you win Super Bowls, this is the place to be.

  22. Does anybody care what a bunch of overpaid crybabies Think? If these guys think they have it bad they should get a job in the real world and see what it’s like…

  23. This report coming from NFLPA should only line a bird cage – they are NOT working for the players best interest contrary to who they represent. They are just as much a fraud as Goodell & his minions.

  24. Because this is Mahomes’ team NOTHING will happen here , like the refs the league will “ look the other way , replay the down, call the hold that was ignored all game” . The Chiefs will likely be awarded more picks for keeping the product on the field strong at the cost of players

  25. But wait don’t they have Jazz baths there? I think this is just that clown D Smith making waves on his way FINALLY out the door.

  26. Perhaps this is why Mahomes forced himself to continue to play in the Super Bowl. Andy Reid might have said something mean and truly awful to him. Like, “Get out there or we’re going to cut you.”

  27. This is pretty surprising. Burkholder has been with Reid for 20 years.

  28. Keep in mind the NFLPA is a union. Unions will do everything under the sun to squeeze every penny from any organization and embellish anything. It could have been something as simple as a player writing, “my legs were killing me after two a days, but thankfully we made it to the SB” easily turning into “players feeling threatened to report any injury.”

    And this organization is (currently) headed by a man vying to take over the spot of Secretary of Labor. Let that sink in for a moment.

  29. I mean look at the vikings. They have A ratings in like everything. I guess pampering your players doesn’t lead to success.

  30. Huh, I have actually heard many Chiefs players praise the Chiefs training staff.

  31. This really doesn’t make much sense. It was this Chiefs training staff that first noticed Eric Berry had a problem that ended up being cancer.

    I’ve never heard anything on the ground here but high praise the staff.

    How in the world did the Chargers staff get a C, yet punctured Tyrod’s lung, and have tons of injuries every season? Most of their stars spend more time on IR than in games.

  32. Interesting. The Chiefs pulled the best player in the NFL during a playoff game, against Mahomes wishes, to get his ankle checked out, knowing they were putting their chances of winning a playoff game in jeopardy.

  33. So the hot free agents will be looking at the teams that have the biggest recreational lounge, most hot tubs, best Jacuzzi’s, carpeted bathroom stalls..?

  34. So the NFLPA says it but you don’t hear any of the players saying it. Quick name something you trust more than the NFLPA, I’ll start, gas station sushi.

  35. Most businesses will discourage or make employees feel guilty for reporting injuries.

  36. Wah Wah Wah, guys from tbe generations before find this awful comical I’m sure. Soft.

  37. If you treat em bad they will try harder to get a great free agent deal so they can leave. Kinda win/win.

  38. Indybear says:
    March 3, 2023 at 7:14 am
    The QB plays while jacked up on pain killing shots in full view of everyone. What do you think is happening to the rest of the team?

    Good point, and I’ll bet that Mahomes made that ankle 10 times worse by doing that. I suppose the Lombardi trophy helps ease the pain.

  39. They got negative marks because they have stools by the lockers and not chairs with backs. A lot of this seems like wiping tears with $100 dollar bill territory but stuff to take into consideration I guess.

  40. To be clear, the Report Card does not say that the Chiefs have the worst training staff. It clearly points to Burkholder as the problem:

    “With the lowest rating and concerning qualitative responses, we learned that players’ key concerns are with head trainer Rick Burkholder (not the rest of the training staff, which is generally well liked).”

  41. Mahomes is actually a good example – he wasn’t even listed on the Super Bowl injury report

  42. They’re successful because they’ve got Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes — players go to KC to play with them despite ownership that fails or refuses to spend a few bucks to provide quality facilities and staff.

  43. Comments were mostly made about head trainer Rick Burkholder because he doesn’t really give leeway in how the injuries are treated. A lot of players have their own camps where the information they get is sometimes different and contrary to what the team position is.

    I believe he’s on his way out.

    Another interesting thing was the mention about the locker rooms, which i get. the stadium was built in 1969 so no matter what renovation you’re doing, you’re still constrained by the building itself. the facilities because of this pale in comparison to new stadiums like the Vikings have for instance.

    That being said, the players should be heard and i hope that the team addresses the situation seriously and swiftly.

  44. The chiefs have forever been little nfl darlings dating back to before the merge, similar to how the superbowl got its name. The chiefs will ALWAYS be slight and underhanded and the league will look the other way !!!

  45. Well just saying they were pretty healthy as a team all season. Unlike say the Broncos who seem to always end up with half their team on IR. So they must be doing something right.

  46. “uncomfortable travel arrangements”? Seems like the NFLPA is rating teams for the ‘perks’ that they offer.

  47. Can we get confirmation on how many players made this claim? Was it one person and the NFLPA and media ran with it, or is it numerous players saying this? Clyde was out injured. So was Toney. So was Sky. So was Hardman. There were injuries all season, especially late. It just seems contradictory to me.

  48. Royals & Chiefs currently share the land that both stadiums are on. Royals are currently making a local push to build a downtown stadium. Chiefs have said that they are staying put. However, the report about antiquated facilities leads me to believe the push is coming for another tax hike to cover an Arrowhead makeover.

  49. jjackwagon says:
    March 3, 2023 at 10:28 am
    So the NFLPA says it but you don’t hear any of the players saying it. Quick name something you trust more than the NFLPA, I’ll start, gas station sushi.

    The survey results come from player responses. It is absolutely the players saying it.

  50. from the results of the 2023 season, it seems to me the Chiefs have the 2nd best training staff in the NFL (in how they were able to help Mahomes recover from his high ankle sprain – 2nd onlto the Bills’ staff who of course was #1 this year due to its on-field emergency medical response skills…

  51. Players are multi-millionaires and they complain about everything! THIS kind of crap is why fans have every right to scream about the skyrocketing ticket prices. Players are so pampered now that they expect to get a maximum contract plus everything for free, plus the ability to make all the ‘mistakes’ they want and have media support for a larger contract.

  52. Football says:
    March 3, 2023 at 7:03 am
    As a Patriots fan one thing I don’t miss is the pile on after winning the trophy. The media can’t hype any more so they pick at things looking for a way to tear down. In the end its all material.

    12130Rate This


    All well and good, but if this was NE, you know owners would be on the phone demanding a story be made up for picks stolen.

  53. Whatever the Chiefs are doing is obviously working. Thanks to this new report, the other teams will start copying what the Chiefs are doing. If you’re concerned about the players, maybe it was better to keep this stuff under wraps.

  54. Curious as to how many players felt this way or how many actually participated in these surveys. Usually employees who doesn’t have any complaints don’t fill out employee feedback surveys.

  55. Interesting because the chiefs are perennially among the teams with fewest injuries. They are doing something right.

  56. The article could have better explained that the players themselves were presented with a questionnaire and these are the results of the players responses. This is not an arbitrary NFLPA list that they made up. It was a result of the answers that the players gave.

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