Umm….NFL…We Have a Problem

Wow!!! For the first time in my lifetime, the NFL has a serious problem. It isn’t just because my Giants are awful, nor is it the CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) or the current anthem controversy. The biggest issue with the NFL is that every week some of the biggest stars in the game are lost for the season due to injury. As I am typing this, it has just been confirmed that Aaron Rodgers may possibly miss the rest of the season with a broken collarbone. Add him to the ever growing list of stars that includes Odell Beckham, J.J. Watt, Ryan Tannehill, Greg Olsen, Julien Edelman, etc. When we turn the page to the last month of the season, will the rosters be recognizable? The rosters are going to resemble the rosters of the Strike Season of 1987!

The problem is simple, yet unsolvable…the players are simply too big and too fast. It is inconsequential how much protection they wear or the technological advancements made in the equipment. Someone who weighs 270 lbs should not be able to run a 4.5-4.6/40 yard dash, period! It is simple physics: Force = Mass x Acceleration. The unsolvable part is that you cannot legislate how much a player can weigh or how fast they can run. Also, the increase in the injuries leads to increase stoppage time which is extending the average time it takes to complete a game.

Another way that football in particular suffers is in the complexity of it’s schemes and the fact that so much of the play is based on precise execution. The game has become such a mental chess match with quarterbacks not only having to read the coverage, but recognize where a blitz may be coming from, rolling protection to that side, etc. With guys shuffling in and out of the line-up each week and even each game for that matter you disrupt the continuity. How many times do we hear an announcer say that the “timing between a quarterback and his receiver is off”? The result is that the games are becoming unwatchable.

Players of this generation have at their disposal the best medical care available. It is no longer taboo to seek medical treatment for injuries. Back in the 1960’s until maybe even the 1990’s, treatment was often to numb the area enough so that the player does not feel the pain or to pressure the player to play through injuries as a “badge of honor”.

The CTE issue is going to become a bigger issue in the coming decades. It is my belief that the damage that is being done today is far greater than what has been done in previous decades. We mistakenly think that it is the helmut to helmut collisions that are doing the damage, however the brain “floats” in the cerebrospinal fluid within the cranium. Every time there is a significant collision the brain crashes against the solid surface of the skull. How many times does this happen to a running back or a linebacker in a single game. Is it any wonder why participation in peewee/pop warner football is down?

…and the anthem thing, I’ll keep my thoughts on that to myself…

Until Next Time…

Yours in Health,

Raymond S. Infanti, D.C.