Common Football Injuries
Football is one of the most physical sports in the world. Nearly every move leading to forceful contact and opening the door for a sports injury. With football season in full swing, players and parents alike should familiarize themselves with common football injuries and ways to prevent them.
Knee injuries are the most common type of football injury, with some estimating that they account for 20% of all injuries suffered by NFL players. The knees coordinate a significant amount of players’ movement as they sprint, pivot and tackle. All this pressure may result in injuries around the knee joint, such as an ACL tear, PCL tear or meniscus tear.
The shoulders are a common point of contact in football, so it’s no surprise that shoulder injuries are common among players. As players collide on the line of scrimmage or fall to the ground after a big tackle, the shoulder ball may dislocate from its socket. In more severe cases, ligaments connecting the shoulder to the collarbone may tear, causing a shoulder separation injury.
The ankles are subject to injury in nearly every sport involving running. Unfortunately, football’s physicality makes them a prime target for more severe sports injuries, such as a fracture or break. Although some athletes may be able to continue playing after suffering an ankle sprain, these worse injuries may take them off the field for weeks.
Football leads to more head injuries than any other sport, and concussions are the most common type. The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) estimates that concussions account for 7.4% of all college football injuries. As players are tackled, their heads hit the ground with enough force to snap the neck and cause serious trauma. Concussions may result in memory loss, trouble concentrating and poor coordination.
Football Injury Prevention
As with any sport, one of the easiest ways to reduce the likelihood of a sports injury is to thoroughly stretch beforehand. Football players should also ensure that they maintain the strength and fitness levels needed to play. Additional ways to prevent football injuries include:
- Wearing protective padding. Football is a highly physical sport and players should wear properly sized helmets, pads and cleats at all times.
- Cooling down afterwards. A 10-15 minute cooldown after football practice or a game will reduce the risk for serious muscle strains or tears.
- Proper hydration. Water improves muscle elasticity and prevents the stiffness that often leads to serious injury.
Contact the Sports Medicine Team
No amount of caution or preventative measures will prevent every injury in football. However, the orthopedic surgery team at Melander Sports Medicine excels at treating athletes and returning them to the game at full strength. If you’re suffering from a football injury, call the sports medicine hotline at 636-62-SPORT or set up an appointment with Dr. Melander.