There is no two ways about it – playing American football is a health hazard. Although there is much that can be done to limit the damage, and even though the sport itself provides many more health benefits, injury is inevitable. So while there is no doubt that injury inevitable in the sport, when you compare it to other sports you can see that American football is right up there with the most dangerous.
The reason for this is that although there are many full-contact sports, there are few where the collisions are as forceful or the movements as perilous as those in American football. Although a close cousin of the game, rugby (to take one example) does not typically involve the types of full-on collisions that typify American football. Indeed, there is a good reason the protective equipment worn by American footballers is so hefty.
For any punters into NFL betting, a solid knowledge of the perils of injury as they exist in the sport is essential. American football is a sport that does not favour longevity. Indeed, even a slight increase in age can lead to a much higher risk of injury. For this reason, an American footballer’s career is typically shorter than players of similarly athletic sports such as basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer, and others.
For gamblers, knowing what to expect can make all the difference to predicting the outcome of the games ahead. Indeed, in addition to this list of the most common American football injuries, an alternative list of the most serious could certainly be compiled. The severity of an injury is naturally necessary knowledge for making a prognosis of a player’s chances of recovery. Thankfully, these two lists do not overlap too much. Most of the most common injuries are not the most severe ones. However, there is some overlap (particularly in the case of concussion), and it should be remembered that, for an American football player, it can all be over very quickly if their luck doesn’t hold.
When judging the severity of these injuries, it is important not simply to think of them in terms of the danger to a player’s health. Viewed like this, an ankle sprain might not seem like such a big deal. Indeed, most of us will suffer this and make a full recovery. In the fast-paced world of the NFL though, the way to think about each of these injuries is in terms how it will affect a player’s performance and for how long they can expect to be compromised or out of the game entirely.
With that in mind then, here follows the five most common injuries in American football. The relative frequency of these injuries has been ascertained with deference to NFL statistics.
5. Upper Leg Injury
Injuries to the upper leg are very common in American football. With the rapid pace, change of direction, and collisions which playing the game involves, injuries to this part of the body, where sharp movements and high strain are inevitable, are frequent. Of all the potential upper leg injuries, hamstring injuries are by far the most common – and they can be pretty serious. Among the more serious of NFL injuries (although thankfully the least common of these five), an upper leg injury can have a player miss six to eight weeks playing time. That is a long time to be out.
4. Shoulder Injury
Shoulder injuries are very common in American football, and the nature of the sport seems to demand this. Collisions directly to the shoulder area are not only common, but they are also made deliberately as part of a tackle. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a lot of shoulder injuries. A shoulder injury can also occur when a receiver lands hard on his shoulder after making a catch. Quarterbacks are the most susceptible to this injury.
3. Concussion and Head Injuries
You might recall that the most common American football injuries and the most severe thankfully do not comprise the same list. However, concussion and head injuries make an appearance on both. It is hard to underestimate the potential danger of trauma to this most important part of the body. Brain trauma takes an exceptionally long time to recover from and although protective gear is constantly being improved, this remains the third most common injury in the NFL.
2. Foot and Ankle Injuries
Consider the amount weight is supported by the feet and ankles of an NFL player. Now consider how much that mass is jostled, slammed, and generally moved around at high energy. It is easy then to see why foot and ankle injuries are incredibly common in American football. Fascinatingly, this is the one injury that could have been made more common (not less) by advancements in sporting equipment. New shoes used to improve speed and agility actually don’t provide the same amount of grip and support.
1. Knee Injuries
Knee injuries are the most common in the NFL, and have topped the statistics every year for the last two decades. Just like foot and ankle injuries, it is a mass of rapidly and violently moving parts that surround the knee structure that make injury to it so common. Specifically, the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL/PCL) are the parts most often effected.
So there you have it, a list of the most commonly attained injuries in the NFL. With the frequency of such injuries, perhaps now would be a good time to see if there was any way to decrease the occurrence of these.