By KATELYN MASARELLI
Sports injuries have the power to end an athlete’s career, especially with the high intensity of the NFL. There isn’t a week that goes by we don’t see a player have a hard time getting up after a rough hit or limp off the field. The NFL receives large amounts of criticism and is constantly pressured to make rule changes that will protect the players. NFL players, now, come in more educated on the rough nature of the sport and knowing injuries are inevitable.
Now that we’re heading into week 11 of the regular season, the injuries are expected to pile on leading up to Super Bowl LI. Here are a few scenarios we’ve seen so far this season:
The Foot Problems Continue for Edelman
Patriots wide receiver, Julian Edelman is one of Tom Brady’s (Patriots quarterback) go to options to throw the ball to and understandably so. Edelman has a total 3,792 receiving yards under his belt and averages 10.3 yards since he was drafted back in 2009 by the Patriots out of Kent State. He has made a name for himself among the entire league and continues to as the seasons go on.
He especially made headlines last season when he suffered a broken left foot known as the Jones Fracture, which are more difficult to heal because it is caused by constant stress, according to SB Nation. The injury required him to be out for the majority of the season. He made a return during the postseason and finished out the season with the team with a steel plate in his shoe to keep from further injury. He spent the offseason rehabilitating after having surgery on the foot.
Edelman is still dealing with the aftermath of his injury this season. The Patriots placed Edelman as limited in their injury report during week 5. Though he played against the Cleveland Browns that week, his injury followed him from the past season and it affects the game strategy. The Patriots have to be prepared to throw the ball to someone else and it leaves a lot of room for the competitive nature of the NFL amongst players.
You especially don’t want to see a wide receiver being taken out with a foot injury because their main goal on the field is to avoid obstacles and run the ball as far as you can. University of Oklahoma coach Jay Norvell, who works closely with wide receivers wrote the book Complete Wide Receiver that says, “Body control and agility are essential to a receiver’s success. The primary thing that a receiver must have is the ability to adjust.”
The foundation of any wide receiver’s game is the speed and agility that helps them adapt to any given play the defense throws at them. Foot injuries will make rehabilitation that much more complex for wide receivers. They have to be able to get back to that high caliber they performed at before exiting the game. The struggles we see with Edelman now are just him getting back to the high level play.
Adrian Peterson: Another Knee Injury
Running backs are the players to be afraid for as far as injuries are concerned. Looking at it longitudinally, running backs are the NFL players that are the first to retire or the highest risk players of injury, according to UT’s associate professor of health science and human performance Dr. J.C. Andersen.
Back in 2011 when the Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tore his ACL, most would have thought we wouldn’t see him back on the field for a long time. Fast forward to the next season though and he is already back and topping other running backs with 775 yards and 174 offensive touches.
He made one of the fastest recoveries after the severe ACL tear he endured and set a high expectation for injury recovery time.
“[Peterson] is an anomaly for sports injuries,” Andersen said. “The level he was able to play at with a knee injury set a high bar of expectation. It shows natural abilities because most players are not going to come back like that.”
But his speedy recovery can’t keep him from re-injury, and that was proven this season when he was carted off the field during week 2. He was later diagnosed with a torn meniscus, another knee injury, and has since undergone surgery. Currently he is going through rehabilitation with no real idea of when he will be able to return, according to an injury report made by CBS Sports online.
Quarterbacks: Shoulder vs. Thumb
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for four games following the Deflategate appeal. The big question going into this season was what we were going to see from the second string quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo managed to snag two wins against the Cardinals and the Dolphins to start the season and proved himself to be a force to be reckoned with. During the game against the Dolphins, he suffered a shoulder injury after being tackled by Dolphins’ defense. He left the field and didn’t return leaving the Patriots to put in rookie third string quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Just a game later, Brissett suffered a thumb injury.
With one more game to go before Brady’s return, the Patriots decided to continue to play Brissett for obvious reasons.
To get the ball out of their hands they rely on that shoulder movement. Even with these two injured both proved to be NFL quarterback threats. It will be interesting to see what happens when Garoppolo’s rookie contract is up after this season and whether or not he will stay with the Patriots.
Jamaal Charles: Knee injury
After suffering an ACL tear last season, running back for the Kansas City Chiefs Jamaal Charles hasn’t seen little playing time and is currently not expected to return for the rest of the season as reported by NFL writer Kevin Patra.
Due to a recent surgery to trim part of the meniscus, the Chiefs are hopeful that he will be able to return for playoffs.
Unlike Peterson, Charles is a prime example of how badly ACL tears can affect a player. This isn’t the first time Charles has suffered an ACL tear. In 2011, he was taken out with his first ACL tear. He repaired the tear in surgery and returned the next year only to be taken out again after spraining the repaired ACL.
Going back to the strong criticism the NFL faces with protecting their players, Charles’ past injuries on his ACL are playing a role in how the organization and medical staff handle his injury now.
“You’ll find that coaching staff and medical staff will work closely with each other to determine if putting a player back in after an injury is what best for the team,” Andersen said. “Coaches are going to really listen to the medical staff and make decisions based on how the players will be impacted ten years down the road.”
Katelyn Masarelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org