Experts tackle football injury evaluation and prevention

Recent epidemiological studies of injuries in NFL players detect similar trends

Published in the October 2008 issue of BioMechanics magazine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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When it comes to football, two truths are apparent. Football and injuries go together like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. And football players will do anything in their power to play through the pain of an injury.

The factors that contribute to football injuries vary depending on the level of play. Poor technique is often to blame at the high school level, whereas in the National Foot­ball League many injuries result from a perfect storm of size, strength, speed, and impact.

Similarly, athletes’ motivation for playing with pain also varies. At the highest level, football players are playing for a paycheck. At the high school level, they play for their parents, coaches, teammates, and school. At the college level, the motivation may lie somewhere in between.

Because of all this variation, studies of injury epidemiology in the NFL, college, or high school cannot easily be extrapolated to football at skill levels other than the one studied. Even so, the recent spate of epidemiological studies of NFL players and NFL-draft hopefuls has value for medical professionals who treat players at all levels, experts say, because the trends tend to be similar.

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Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239