Posted By: KaSandra Hunt of Football Fan Rush Media April 13, 2014 12:00pm CT
Though we love this sport, it comes with a heavy price for its employees. Many of the players are plagued with a variety of injuries with the most common being the never ending ACL or MCL tear.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. The ACL prevents excessive motion of the knee joint. In most cases, ACL tears occur when pivoting or landing from a jump. The knee gives-out from under the athlete when the ACL is torn.
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of the four major ligaments that are critical to the stability of the knee joint. Because the MCL resists widening of the inside of the knee joint, the ligament is usually injured when the outside of the knee joint is struck. This force causes the outside of the knee to buckle, and the inside to widen. When the MCL is stretched too far, it is susceptible to tearing and injury. This is the injury seen by the action of “clipping” in a football game.
The recent Stats below show these injuries over the past two seasons.
While these numbers may seem like a lot it’s pretty common in such a brutal contact sport. Not only do most recover successfully from these types of injuries, but the average ACL or MCL repair often takes about five to eight months to completely heal. The recovery maybe even less for those in reasonable shape, without any chronic illness per Physiologist and Fitness Consultant Elizabeth Quinn. In October 2012, Quinn posted an article via SportMedicine.com outlying the many common sports related injuries along with their projected healing/repair time frames.
While this is a general outlook, not all of our favorite athletes have the same outcomes. A great example of this would be current Running Back Adrian “All Day” Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings.
Vikings fans nearly coughed up a lung when Peterson went down in 2011 and was ruled as having an ACL injury. Well let’s fast forward to the 2012 season and Peterson hit the field with a Superman cap on that read “What ACL Injury” (yes, that statement is fictitious, but hopefully you get the point). His competitive spirit even raised the bar by not only returning as if he was never injured but with an attempt to break the current NFL Rushing Yardage Record of 2,105 set by former NFL Player Eric Dickerson. Well, Peterson and his knee fell just shy of the record with 2,097 rushing yards, but for coming off an ACL surgery, is that truly a bad thing.
Many expected the same a season later from Redskins QB Robert “RGIII” Griffin, III, being that he rejuvenated the team spirit in his 2012 rookie season. RGIII underwent knee surgery to repair his partially torn ACL/LCL injury January 2013 and many hoped to see him make an amazing return as well. Now, we must remember, not everyone heals the same and sometimes have learn news ways to get the same or even better results.
Griffin, like many expected a flawless start, to the 2013 season since he went through what was deemed as a pretty impressive eight month rehab period. Griffin sat out the preseason as the Redskins to reduce accidental injury to the knee and prepare him for the 2013 week one season opener. His results were not what anyone used to seeing these superhuman players display on game day. Week one of the regular season he did not impress against the Eagles and Week two the Skins where child’s play for the Packers. After a few more games, it was obvious Griffin needed more time and would be replaced with Kirk Cousins.
We continue to see a huge focus on concussion related sports injuries, ways to prevent or reduce the constant growing number of this injury, support organizations for the many affected by this injury and disability health programs to assist in the mental and physical medical aspects of concussions. Yet, despite this common and sometimes severe brain injury, many athletes have no fear returning to the field once cleared to do so. A shocker is that it is the opposite for many athletes that experience ACL or MCL injuries.
A recent 2013 comparison of the two common athletic injuries by Northwestern University’s Liz Flown actually outlined more fear and depression from athletes with ACL/MCL injuries. Here case study showed that while
Chronic stress, somatic and depressive symptoms following mild to moderate traumatic brain injury, there seemed to be a greater fear of re-injury in people who have returned to sport following an ACL/MCL reconstruction surgery. This fear has set-up major depression and anxiety situations which can hinder their recovery process or even forcing some athletes to simply walk away from the sport they love.
I understand we expect our star players to be Superhuman, because we spend every dime we have to cheer on our favorite team(s), we have to remember they are still human. It’s a contact sport and this injury will always be a part of the game and as of 2014 there has not been enough evidence to prove the NFL CBA reduction of 2 a days or 1 on 1’s have made a true negative impact on the state of this injury, the only difference as of now is the amount of information we have access too compared to previous years as far as injury updates.
For more on the Football related ACL/MCL injury updates, studies and reports:
Elizabeth Quinn via http://Sportsmedicine.about.com
Liz Flom, Northwestern University via http://bit.ly/1n4Puo4