Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 May 2013

Washington Post Four-Part Series on NFL Injuries

The Washington Post has an excellent four-part series that ran yesterday and today about medical issues in the NFL. Some of the graphics use detail from the FO injury database.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 17 May 2013

7 comments, Last at 22 May 2013, 1:29pm by markus


by Theo :: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 6:35pm

If a player comes off after an injury time out, the doctor has to 'clear' him to come back into the game.
So RG3 could never have said 'I'm going in' TO HIS COACH, because it was the doctor he should have been talking to. Then the doctor, not the player or the coach, should tell the ref he's cleared to play.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 9:31am

The problem is that the referees don't talk to the doctor... RG3 basically just avoided the doctors and went back in.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 10:42am

Even if it did work that way, I'm not convinced much would be changed. Ultimately, the issue is who is paying the doctor. If it's the team, then there will be pressure to get guys back into the game. Even if the player had his own doctor on the sidelines, he still might ignore medical advice in the heat of the action. This is never going to be a perfect system because even the most upstanding doctor would be asked to make judgment calls on-the-spot with incomplete evidence. Short of keeping guys out for basically any injury, there would still be cases where somebody was cleared to return when they shouldn't have been.

by Insancipitory :: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 11:56pm

I almost regret reading this. Ignorance may not be better, but is often feels better.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 05/18/2013 - 3:21pm

The book "You're ok it's only a bruise" was an eye-opener (and good read) for me. Among other stuff it seemed to suggest that Bo Jackson would never have needed a hip replacement if he had been properly attended to at the time.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 1:40pm

The pain management stuff starts early on in football. I went to a small college and my roommate popped over-the-counter pain pills like candy. He'd take 10 at a time sometimes. I have no doubt he'd have been taking way stronger stuff if he'd had access to it. And that was at a level where contact was nowhere close to what it is in the NFL or even major college.

by markus (not verified) :: Wed, 05/22/2013 - 1:29pm

Reminds me of an article I saw a while back on why celebrities so frequently get hooked on prescription meds. Much like pro athletes, celebrities tend to get heavily medicated for even tiny issues. One example was a star who'd sprained her ankle but just had to look natural on the red carpet. So, instead of just having her stay off it for a few days they gave her narcotics so she could walk without a limp. And that led to her becoming addicted.