The NFL Injury Epidemic: Who Will Fall Next?

In a game as violent as football, injuries are bound to happen. This season seems to be especially bad for injuries to high-profile players, and it’s only Week 9. The biggest injury this year has to be that of Aaron Rodgers, who broke his collarbone. When Rodgers has all his collarbones intact, the Packers are Super Bowl contenders. When he doesn’t, the Packers will be lucky just to make the playoffs. The recent injury to Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is almost as bad. He was on well his way to a Rookie of the Year season, and it seemed like the Texans had finally found its franchise quarterback. Jackson was their Chosen One. The Messiah. But now, he’s just another name on an injury report.

Some teams get hit harder than others. In addition to its starting quaterback, Houston lost possibly one of the most disruptive defensive players in the league in J.J. Watt. The Giants lost basically their entire receiving corps in one day. To be fair, quarterback Eli Manning wasn’t doing a great job of throwing the ball to his team instead of the other team, but still. Other notable injuries include Julian Edelman, who didn’t even get a chance to defend his Super Bowl title before tearing his ACL in preseason. David Johnson was supposed to be the best running back in the league this year, but instead he fractured his wrist and hasn’t been able to contribute. Sam Bradford, Dont’a Hightower, Eric Berry – the list goes on.

Some people might say that the NFL needs to do more to protect its players, but most of the injuries I’ve listed are non-contact injuries. There’s nothing the NFL can do to protect players’ ACLs. Players are so big, strong and fast that their bodies just can’t keep up. Concussions are another prevalent issue, but with new safety rules about targeting and helmet-to-helmet hits they should be partly lessened.

Whenever a star player gets injured, viewers and fans always says that it’s bad for football. Teams that have healthy best players are more fun to watch, and when everyone is healthy, it is easier to see which teams are better. But injuries add randomness and craziness to the season. Teams that were supposed to be good suddenly aren’t. Teams that no one thought would have a chance suddenly do. Plus, injuries open up chances for backups to blossom into stars in their own right. Tom Brady got his shot because of a horrible injury to Drew Bledsoe. Dak Prescott would’ve had to wait behind Tony Romo for years if not for Romo’s back problems. Of course, it’s terrible for the individual getting injured, but there can be somewhat of a silver lining.

That being said, injuries are frustrating for fans. Going into the season, everyone has certain expectations for their teams, and injuries derail these. Seasons and careers are unfairly ended through freak accidents. This season has already been one of the worst in recent memory, and there’s a long way to go. Here’s to hoping that the rest of the season goes by without any more major injuries.

Contact Teddy Campbell at [email protected].