Injuries are a harsh reality of sports, especially for one as violent as football. A lot of us love to watch football. We enjoy the players’ battle it out and put their hearts on the line. And arguably the worst thing we, as NFL fans, can witness are those dreaded injuries.
At first, fans might be upset because injuries can hurt their fantasy line-ups and affect their gambling money, however that feeling quickly goes away. It is instead replaced by a sense of empathy. Most decent people hate seeing players get hurt because it affects not only the team but that players’ loved ones. We would prefer not to see injuries at all, yet they seem to be happening now more than ever.
When the season was just two weeks in more than 15 percent of all NFL players were hurt. This included 12 concussions, two neck injuries and 40 knee injuries. This percentage was almost a third higher than the previous year. In week three 16 more injuries were added to this list meaning 250 of 1,696 players were hurt, that is the most since 2013 when the number was 269.
Since 2009 there has been an average increase of 355 more injuries each year. It doesn’t just seem worse, it is worse. In week eight alone we saw six players –Possibly 7 –lose their season due to injury. Two of which were Achilles injury which doctors say is the hardest injury to come back from.
In week eight we also witnessed one of the more scary injuries that can happen to any player as Seahawks’ special teamer Ricardo Lockette was on the ground unable to move after being blindsided. Lockette was on the ground for more than five minutes before finally being put on a stretcher and finally showing some movement in his arms.
An even scarier injury occurred this past weekend when Cardinals Guard Mike Iupati was also on the ground after ramming helmets with Seahawks Safety Kam Chancellor. Iupati was on the ground for about five minutes as well with players from both sides praying on.
What made it scarier is that Iupati didn’t move, from the time he got hurt to the time he got transported on the stretcher to the hospital. The Cardinals twitter page later announced he had feeling in all extremities and that he would be okay. However, when an injury like that happens, especially when we are not even sure if he can ever walk again, it breaks the emersion of the game.
The inflation in injuries has also had an impact on players retiring early. Just last year we saw three players still in their twenties –which is considered young— retire on the same day. One player that grabbed headlines with his early retirement was former 49er linebacker Chris Borland.
Borland left the game at age 24 after only playing one year in the NFL. The craziest part is that the one year he played, Borland quickly became known as one of the best linebackers in the NFL. His retirement was a huge shock to everyone and was actually a bit scary. He said the reason he left was because he believed football was “inherently dangerous.” Borland has also mentioned the fact that injuries on the rise was a big reason he left.
The question now is why are injuries happening more frequently? Players are bigger and faster but that surely cannot be the only reason. Former QB Brady Quinn said on a podcast that he believes the rise in injuries could have to do with the fact that players are taking HgH. However, since the NFL has started testing for it no player has been found using it.
Some people make the case that injuries are more reported now which is why injury reports have gone up. Whereas before people played with concussions, the new protocol doesn’t allow players to go back in whenever they want, it gives power to the team doctors to make that call whether a player should play or not. This goes for all injuries not just head related ones.
However that is not necessarily the case. Coaches still lie about injuries to not give up a competitive advantage. In 2009, the Jets were fined 125k for not disclosing a Brett Favre injury. At the end of the day coaches are paid to win football games, and sometimes lying about injuries or in this case simply not disclosing them is part of the culture.
Overall, one cannot deny that injuries have played a huge impact in football now more than ever. The rise in them really makes us question if this sport can last much longer. With the new movie “Concussion” starring Will Smith coming out soon, football lovers are scared that it will paint the football in a negative light. In fact Peter King of MMQB.com said he has already seen the movie and has the ability to make most people “anti-football.”
As fans we can only hope that the injuries are just a coincidence and that some years they will be better than others. Just last year the NFL reported that head injuries and ACL (knee) injuries both went down more than 10 percent. So maybe they are all just bad luck. But then again maybe they aren’t.
Jorge Mercado is the current Editor in Chief and was a Sports Editor before that since freshman year. He prefers to be called Merk as that was his nickname given to him by the gods. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.