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Why are some players injury prone?

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by gimmesix, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. gimmesix

    gimmesix Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life

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    Some players go their entire NFL careers without having an injury that causes them to be sideline for a prolonged period. Others seem to have them season after season, and it isn't like it's always a recurring injury.

    Sean Lee was lost this season because of a turf toe injury, which wasn't related to his broken hand last year (which he played through) or the reason he fell in the NFL Draft, an ACL tear.

    Bruce Carter is gone after dislocating his left elbow, after also dropping in the draft because of a knee injury.

    Felix Jones, who had no significant injuries in college, has had injury after injury as a pro: tearing a ligament as a rookie while rehabbing a hamstring injury; missing games for a knee strain the next year; suffering ankle and shoulder injuries last year, and fighting through problems with both knees this year.

    So what's the correlation? Is it something in their genes where their ligaments/muscles are tighter or their bones aren't as dense?

    Is it something in their preparation where they are not getting stretched properly or missing something from their routine?

    Is it something in their play? Do they throw their bodies around recklessly or not know how to fall right or protect their bodies from being hit wrong?

    Is it a combination of all three or something else?

    I know Emmitt Smith talked about massages/chiropractic care being the key to his longevity. I know he also played through pain at times, and was good at not getting hit square on.

    But these injury problems still perplex me, so I'd appreciate whatever insights anyone might have.
  2. Eskimo

    Eskimo Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I am 99.99% sure that there are some players who are just more durable than other players. Most of that difference IMO is the ability to avoid major impacts and the strength of their connective tissue that holds their MSK system together - tendons, ligaments and cartilage.

    The only problem is that college history is only of partial use since everyone gets injured some in this game so that is not definitive proof one way or the other. The other reason is your ability to avoid major impact in college doesn't mean that it will hold true in the pros. Additionally, the hits you receive in the pros will be made by men who have hit true physical maturity in their mid to late-20s compared to rookies who are often only 21 to 23 years old.

    Is Bruce Carter fragile - I'm going to say that I don't think so based on what I've seen of him. Just a hunch. The elbow injury was a freak one and ACL injuries happen all the time in this game.

    As for Sean Lee, I am pretty convinced that he is fragile and we better protect ourselves in any contract extension.

    As for Murray, I'm not sure. Anyone would get hurt from the tackle he suffered last year. I didn't witness his injury this year and don't even know what he injured so it is hard to comment upon but my gut suggests his upright style, tendency to get involved in big collisions and possible sub-optimal soft tissues suggests a player not worth extending. But we may as well ride him out while he can play and then send him on his way. This is no big loss since few RBs are difference-makers anyway.
  3. honyock

    honyock Well-Known Member

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    I would guess that it's a combination of things, including the three you mentioned. Some players (like Emmitt) seem to have some combination of the instincts and quickness to avoid contact moreso than others.

    And I think that it's also plain dumb bad luck in some cases. Land wrong, get hit at the exact wrong moment when your foot is planted, etc., and with some injuries, when you get hurt, you're more likely to get hurt again. I believe that is true of concussions, and it sure seems to be often true with ankle injuries. Probably the athletes fear of getting replaced causes some to come back too soon and not be totally honest with training staff when they're not 100%. When you come back too soon or you aren't completely mechanically right when you come back, injuries elsewhere get more likely.

    I remember Randy Hughes from back in the 70's...really highly thought of behind Harris and Waters at safety, then had a shoulder injury, then another one, then was out of football completely very quickly. That first injury seemed to open the floodgates. With some of them it's the the violent nature of the game combined with bad luck, then the game just chews them up.

    I'd agree with Eskimo on his hunches about Lee, Carter and Murray. I hope we're wrong about Lee...
  4. 17yearsandcounting

    17yearsandcounting Benched

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    Its probably genetics, hitting properly and falling properly
  5. Meat-O-Rama

    Meat-O-Rama Vegetarians are so stupid.

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    There are no facts, only speculation as it relates to injuries/being injury prone.

    The fact is that humans are just not meant to play a sport like NFL football. The physical toll on the human body is astounding. Injuries are the norm, not the exception. Those who make it through without one or more season ending injuries are a: lucky and b: probably physical anomalies.

    Some guys bodies handle the beating better, but it's near impossible to say why. Genetics? Workout? Eating more veggies/drinking more milk as a kid? Your guess is as good as mine...
  6. gimmesix

    gimmesix Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life

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    I'm a believer that that style of play doesn't just cause the player to absorb big hits, but also exposes other areas that would normally be protected.

    Some players run with a body lean that keeps their legs behind them, so their shoulder pads/upper body take on the tackle most of the time. Murray, who's problem has been leg injuries, runs with his legs more up under him and with a higher pad level that leads to more hits on his lower body where knees/ankles/feet can end up being twisted or fallen upon.
  7. Hoofbite

    Hoofbite Well-Known Member

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    Genetics?
  8. honyock

    honyock Well-Known Member

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    There is genetic variance for just about every conceivable human trait. For NFL athletes, that means pain tolerance, rate at which injuries scar, ligamentous laxity/tautness, bone density, natural muscle tone, on and on.

    I've got a buddy who works with high performance athletes including some NFL players, doing rehab and repair work. He makes the point that many of them just don't have a pain threshold that is anything like the rest of us. It's not that they're tougher than the rest of us, their system just doesn't register things as painful the way us mortals do. They have to have that to be able to withstand the abuse they take.
  9. BraveHeartFan

    BraveHeartFan We got a hat. I want a ring.

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    I really don't think there is any one real reason or answer to that question. It's likely a crazy combination of tons of things that make absolutely no sense.
  10. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Genetics of course. Some people have stronger bodies. More durable.
    Personality- the drive to train and prepare and everything that goes with it.
    And do not forget luck- sometimes players just have bad luck.
  11. SkinsandTerps

    SkinsandTerps Redskins Forever

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    To throw on the pile...I have heard many times that when you aren't going all out you are likely to be hurt.

    I don't really believe that, but it does have a few examples over the years.
  12. visionary

    visionary Well-Known Member

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    Genetics
    Luck
    Technique
  13. links18

    links18 Well-Known Member

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    Its mostly luck, just like everything else. People will of course look for some kind of genetic/biological underlying cause in our deterministic culture, but sometimes, you know, stuff just happens.
  14. gimmesix

    gimmesix Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life

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    That's the one I forgot to mention. I do think some injuries are just the result of misfortune rather than anything the player did wrong or anything in his genetics.

    At some point after multiple injuries, it's definitely got to be more than just bad luck, but I do believe it plays a role.
  15. gimmesix

    gimmesix Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life

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    Obviously, that's not the case with those I mentioned, especially Lee and Carter. And I would think more players are hurt by giving great effort than giving little, unless they are laid out while they are laying up.
  16. durrrr

    durrrr Active Member

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    Luck is a huge factor.
  17. CowboysPhan

    CowboysPhan Obsequious Cowboys Toadie

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    And of course a good follow-up question to this thread would be: If the tendency to be injury-prone appears to be outside the control of the player, as most of the responses here seem to indicate, why do so many fans have such contempt for the player who suffers the injuries, calling them "glass-man" and other things. I understand being frustrated by the frequent injuries, but I have a feeling our frustration is not even in the same ballpark as that of the injured players. Personally I don't think it's right to spew venom at the guy who got hurt trying to help the team any way he could, or to assume that he's somehow lazy or unmotivated because of it.
    My $.02
  18. gimmesix

    gimmesix Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life

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    I'm sure if it was completely in his control, then teams would understand how to help him avoid being injury-prone or at least have some criteria on which to base not drafting players who are.

    I'm curious how many players have entered the league like Lee and Carter, coming off ACL tears, and have gone on to have long, major-injury-free careers.
  19. silver

    silver Well-Known Member

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    I can think of Michael Brooks from the Broncos and Jesse Armstead from the Giants. Both had ACL's in college and never had injury issues in the pros. Frank Gore is another one. Willis McGahee has had a somewhat successfull career in between injuries.
  20. gimmesix

    gimmesix Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life

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    I'm sure there are quite a few. Thanks for providing some examples.

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