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What Are the Most Common Injuries In the NFL? (INFOGRAPHIC)

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

Have you ever wondered what the most common injuries in the NFL are? An infographic from Mueller Sports Medicine takes an in-depth look at a few of the injuries (as well as the recovery times) that affect NFL players. With football season in full-swing, the information in this infographic is especially important for adolescent players and parents.

7 of the Most Common NFL Injuries

  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a major concern in the NFL. CTE is a degenerative disease of the brain that can occur in people who have sustained many head impacts over the course of several years. CTE isn’t necessarily connected directly to concussions. Research suggests that impacts below a typical concussion can be one of the main contributing factors in CTE. Unfortunately, 96% of NFL players have tested for CTE, which can lead to memory loss, depression and dementia. Fortunately, new rules are being developed to protect players.
  • Leg/knee injuries account for 50.4% of NFL injuries. Common football leg injuries include hamstring pulls, groin strains, contusions, broken legs, sprained and torn ACLs, torn menisci, and sprained/torn MCLs.
  • Shoulder and arm injuries account for 16.9% of NFL injuries. Shoulder separation can take six to eight weeks of recovery; broken bones, four to six weeks of recovery; and shoulder dislocation, four to 12 months of recovery. Also, did you know that 80% of “arm injuries” are actually finger injuries in linemen?
  • Back/spine injuries account for 11.9% of NFL injuries, with herniated discs and spinal cord concussion being two of the more common injuries.
  • Ankle/foot injuries are responsible for 9.1% of NFL injuries with ankle sprain and turf toe being a few of the more common incidents.
  • Concussions account for 7.4% of NFL injuries. Recovery from a mild concussion may take one to six days, while a moderate concussion could take up to 10 days and a severe concussion could take over four weeks for players to recover. Learn more about returning to play after concussion.
  • Neck injuries account for approximately 4.3% of NFL injuries. A “stinger” or “burner,” which causes a feeling of electric shock down the arm, can occur when a nerve in the neck becomes pinched, compressed or otherwise injured. These injuries usually resolve in a week or less.

Find a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor Near You

To learn more about treating football injuries with a sports medicine doctor in Houston, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.