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"The NFL - should "this" be an issue?" Topic

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Saginaw06 Jan 2019 8:14 a.m. PST

The "this" I'm referring to is a broken limb injury, of which three significant incidents have occurred this season.

Last night's Wild Card game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys was stopped at 7:28 in the first quarter, when Cowboys wide receiver Allen Hurns was tackled after catching a pass and making a first down. As the defender was pulling him down, he rolled under Hurns's left leg, which was firmly planted onto the turf, and resulted in a gruesome-looking and season-ending ankle injury. After several minutes, Hurns was prepped and carted off the field for treatment.

Back on November 18, Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith suffered a catastrophic break of both his tibia and fibula during a game against Houston, from which he's had several major surgeries to repair the damage and fight off subsequent infection. And on December 3, during a game against Philadelphia, his replacement, quarterback Colt McCoy, suffered a broken right ankle during a play.

Yeah, I know that football is a tough sport, a game for the young and strong; my older brother can tell y'all that from a personal perspective. But three brutally similar injuries in the same season. It's not immediately coming to mind, but has this many happened before in so short a timespan?

Just curious. Thanks.


Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2019 2:53 p.m. PST

Don't know if it's quite enough to be statistically significant; there are a lot of players, a lot of games, and, as you say, football is a violent sport.

On the other hand, with the new rules to prevent helmet contact, etc., it seems to me these force defenders to strike at a lower target on the body. Does this increase the likelihood that a target's lower legs and ankle will wind up being landed on by the defender's weight, with the target falling in such a way that the lower leg can't change position with the fall? Maybe… but is it really an increasing chance, or simply a chance that has always been there and pure coincidence made it noticeable during this season?

I'd call it worth examining, but not yet a "thing."

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2019 5:24 p.m. PST

This is an interesting question. There is a strong argument to be made that if you watch a dangerous activity you are complicit in the suffering. On the other hand, the people participating are grown ups and know the risks.

They are not announcing the cause of death for a 20 year old Cal player who died after a medical emergency during a non-team work out this last week.

Regardless of the statistical significance of this handful of events, football is dangerous, more dangerous than they would like us to think, and that does raise an ethical question.

Saginaw06 Jan 2019 6:10 p.m. PST

On the other hand, with the new rules to prevent helmet contact, etc., it seems to me these force defenders to strike at a lower target on the body. Does this increase the likelihood that a target's lower legs and ankle will wind up being landed on by the defender's weight, with the target falling in such a way that the lower leg can't change position with the fall? Maybe… but is it really an increasing chance, or simply a chance that has always been there and pure coincidence made it noticeable during this season?

Excellent observation, Parzival, one that didn't immediately come to my mind. It makes perfect and logical sense; the new rules are designed to minimize the risk of a serious concussion, but that leaves the potential for either a season-ending or career-ending injury occurring somewhere else.

Andrew, one could probably make a strong ethical argument that professional football, namely the NFL, has become our modern-day "circus" (as in "bread and circuses"), especially in light of recent politically-oriented events. It just comes down to one, simple thing: money. Offer someone $1,000 USD to smack themselves into a brick wall and someone will bound to be foolish enough to do it.

A former boss of mine once pointed out to me that there can be no "reward" without an element of "risk". These athletes have always known the risks, and were/are willing to take them while commanding millions dollar contracts. Having said that, there was some news made a couple of years ago of a number of NFL players who were willing to end their careers for the sake of their long-term health, specifically preventing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

And I totally don't blame the latter at all.

Greyalexis06 Jan 2019 7:44 p.m. PST

this is why girls dont play the game.

But if they really wanted to help make the game safer and not just turn QB's into wimps and make it hard on the defense. to truly make it safer, the NFL will have to take the body armor off that can stop a bullet and go back to leather. but lets face it even baseball players get hurt.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2019 3:03 a.m. PST

Gymnasts suffer injuries, and that is not a contact

A lot is made of concussions suffered by American
football players.

What many don't know is that 'heading' in soccer
amounts to the same thing, albeit on a much smaller
scale. It was explained to me (by a neurologist)
thusly: if you smack your head very hard, even with
an open hand, there will be a (very) small chance
for your brain to contact your skull, inflicting
very minor bruising. Compare with the impact of
a soccer ball (slight, agreed) but also with the
brain's movement within a skull as a player (in
ANY SPORT) moves her/his head quickly to (as ONE
example) follow the flight of a ball preparatory
to catching it (basketball, baseball, etc.)

Repeat that hundreds of times over a career in a sport
and perhaps the results are similar to brain injuries
suffered by boxers and players of American football
(the term 'punch drunk' didn't arise for no good reason).

As to lower extremity injuries: the NFL rules were
changed to impose penalties for actions which are known
in induce severe injuries, either immediately or over
time (concussions, if you will). And NO actions will
reduce the wear and tear on joints, especially knees,
shoulders and the lumbar region caused by normal
play when bodies weigh what they do to be competitive
AND speeds afoot likewise.

A 230 pound, 84-inch tall wideout moving at 12-16 MPH
changing direction radically will induce a LOT of stress
on ankles, knees and hips. Repeat often enough and
a career is very short.

BTW, that applies to basketball players as well, of
course. And other sports.

I often wonder how much of those big salaries paid to
professional athletes go to people skilled at body
maintenance (massages, chiropractors, etc).

According to two Am. footballers who were at the top
of the game (performance and longevity) LOTS (Emmet
Smith, Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Rice, San Francisco
49'ers). Tom Brady seems on the same path as those

Trajanus07 Jan 2019 6:56 a.m. PST

You need a lot more info than these three injuries given the number of plays per game, per season.

Just the shear number of opportunities each play for something to go wrong make this kind of thing inevitable during the course of a season.

On a repetitive basis, three over entire year, plus preseason, training and post season games to come, doesn't seem a problem that needs addressing just a statistical happening.

Unless its your leg of course!

Didn't see the Dallas incident but the Washington ones were caused by other players falling on an outstretched limb not tackles as such. Given the mechanics of how football is played its hard to see much could be done to prevent this.

If the manner of playing the game involves two lines of 290 pound guys shoving each other around while a number of 250 pound guys crash through and around this melee, with the intention of flattening an individual, who is often semi stationary with his legs planted apart, stuff will happen!

Which is presumably why QBs get paid $15 USD – 22 million a year.

Each winter US Postal workers break their legs slipping on ice while delivering the mail – you think they get paid as much?

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2019 9:25 a.m. PST

Debilitating injuries also occur in dancing, ice skating, track and field, and, yes, golf. IIRC, there have been spinal injuries and death associated with cheerleading! (Risk in sport ain't a girl/boy thing.)

If you're moving a body part in an attempt to achieve its extreme potential, you're risking injury to that part at the very least. Heck, I got an injury from walking fast.

Also, the best players don't play anything because they love the money— they play because they love the game. The anti-football crowd doesn't understand that, and most aren't truly anti-football out of concern over health. That's just an excuse. The truth is, they don't like the game, or athletic endeavors being celebrated by society at large, or people being honored for "frivolous" skills, or, quite possibly, they simply have a prejudice against athletes ("jocks"). Heck, we get that attitude from the same crowd for playing games that "glorify violence!"

By the way, there's actually limited evidence that CTE is in fact caused by concussions, especially as it's not detectable without a brain autopsy. In order to assert that CTE is directly related to concussion and death, one would have to perform a study involving the autopsies of literally hundreds if not thousands of brains of people known to have never suffered a concussion (or any blow to the head), along with an equal number of autopsies of those known to have suffered concussions. And even that wouldn't necessarily rule out other causes, or the possibility that the indicators of CTE aren't post-mortem effects. Which isn't to say that concussions aren't dangerous or risk long term debilitating effects, just that CTE isn't quite the definitive, deadly certainty it's being made out to be in the press.

Winston Smith07 Jan 2019 11:33 a.m. PST

More than one messed up ex-NFL player who committed suicide did it in a way so as to not damage his brain.
Junior Seau, for one, shot himsrlf in the chest.

Christopher Nowinski played football for Harvard. He joined WWE as a "know it all" heel.
He quit after too many concussions. Then he went on to be a force in recognizing CTE in sports.

I didn't like him as a heel wrestler because he was after all a heel.
But I have tremendous respect for him now.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian07 Jan 2019 6:40 p.m. PST

The horror of McCoy's injury is that it happened on the anniversary of Joe Thiesman's injury

Who asked this joker08 Jan 2019 5:58 a.m. PST

The NFL will eventually do the right thing, after they've done everything else. The rules are stupid complicated. The safety issue could be largely mitigated by allowing only rugby style tackles. OBTW, in the NFL that's called form tackling. It is something many players 1) don't like to do or 2) can't do to a quarterback because it is illegal to land more than 50% of your weight on him.

Instead they incrementally change things like the 3 step rule which resulted in a fumble and the ball not being recovered during the Bears Eagles game. Many of you probably sensed that the referees ended up making a ruling by the seat of their pants for that call as it was not covered in the rules. Whatever happened to 2 feet down and clear possession. Sure it's not always easy to call but it is a heck of a lot easier to call than trying to figure out whether the player made a football move or not.

They have largely mitigated the leg problems with the no horse collar tackle rule and the no going low on the quarterback…oh wait…the latter only is for QBs.

Bottom line: The NFL needs to get out of their own way, simplify the rule book and do the right thing to try and protect ALL of the players.

Winston Smith08 Jan 2019 7:44 a.m. PST

The ruling was that the pass was incomplete because nobody bothered to pick it up until the referee did.
It is covered in the rules, which are as well written and easy to read as WRG Ancients. The referee probably was winging it, but he had cover.
But the Eagles won and that's all that really matters.
I predict that Nick Foles will win two Super Bowl MVP in a row, and the Eagles will dump him. That's what happens when management couldn't even make it in Clown College.

Winston Smith08 Jan 2019 7:48 a.m. PST

You're right about tackling, BTW.
When's the last time you saw a tackler wrap his arms around the tacklee? The one exception is sacking the quarterback and then the tackler gets flagged for roughing.
"Tacklers" nowadays hurl their body at a runner and hope for the best. It's no wonder you see long runs breaking 5 tackles. If the defense bothered to use their arms…

Winston Smith08 Jan 2019 7:51 a.m. PST

One last comment. When Tom Brady finally retires, he will be a physical wreck. He will have to walk his daughter down the aisle in a walker.
Let Mahomes get the 6 rings.

Who asked this joker09 Jan 2019 6:36 a.m. PST

When's the last time you saw a tackler wrap his arms around the tacklee?

Big linebackers and defensive linemen tend to form tackle. The latter seem to get penalized for their troubles. Watch in the next game and you will see. Even big hitters like Ray Lewis tend to form tackle.

The smaller guys, like a safety, cornerback or a fast linebacker tend to go for the big hit. They are also the guys that tend to make a name for themselves as vicious hitters.

Trajanus09 Jan 2019 7:27 a.m. PST

The horror of McCoy's injury is that it happened on the anniversary of Joe Thiesman's injury

Actually that was Alex Smith's but truth to tell, I don't expect that it worried him one way or another. It still must have hurt like hell!

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2019 1:53 p.m. PST

LB and DL are almost always in the midst of a scrum-like
mob close to the line of scrimmage. The smaller DB's
are usually at speed (along with their prey) and hence
try to body-check rather than wrap – wrapping against an
at speed receiver or RB usually results in a miss.

We started teaching HS kids to body-check 20 years ago.
If you can knock the ball carrier out of bounds, just as
good as a form tackle.

Trajanus, I think he meant Theismann's injury from
30 years ago…

Who asked this joker10 Jan 2019 6:04 a.m. PST

It was always square up and put the helmet on the ball side when I played. You are right though. Once the speedy guy gets to the side or past you it is a matter of bringing him down any way you can at that point.

Colt MacCoy and Alex Smith both suffered broken legs. Theisman and Smiths injuries were quite similar. Smith does have the miracle of modern science on his side. I expect he will be back at some point next year.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jan 2019 12:50 p.m. PST

I got killed one time playing rugby. Coach told me to walk it off, so I did.

Trajanus16 Jan 2019 9:41 a.m. PST

Just for completeness.

Theisman was injured on 18 November 1985

Smith was injured on 18 November 2018

McCoy was injured on 3 December 2018

Only the first two of those above are coincidental dates which is what I was referring to.

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