While we are nearing the culmination of the NFL’s biggest event, these players don’t always have the best of seasons. Today we can say that players from the Denver Broncos or the Carolina Panthers are about to compete for the title that makes millions in revenue, but what’s behind it all?
There are several injuries depending on the position in which they play, but to create a preamble let’s talk about those that have left out of season or game those stars who prepare a long time mentally and physically for a short season.
Joe Theisman, who suffered an exposed tibio-peroneal fracture, was a Redskins player and on one play was blocked by linebacker Lawrence Taylor and never played after that.
Bubba Smith, a defensive back for the Baltimore Colts, in a preseason game while trying to tackle the offensive tackle ended up off the field and got tangled in the chains, leaving him with a ruptured knee ligament, described by the team’s doctor as the worst injury he has ever had to deal with.
Darryl Stingley, one of the best receivers of the era and of the New England Patriots, had his life radically changed after suffering a hard, but legal tackle by defensive back Jack Tatum of the Oakland Raiders. The preseason game was in August 1978. The tackle caused Stingley’s spinal cord to compress and fracture his fourth and fifth vertebrae. The receiver ended up in a wheelchair and died in 2007 from complications resulting from the injury.
Jason Sehorn was considered one of the best white cornerbacks of the 21st century playing in the NFL. Sehorn, star of the New York Giants and who had recently signed a multi-year contract with the Big Apple team, suffered a serious injury to one of his knees. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. What’s worse, he was playing on special teams, returning a kickoff and in the first preseason game of 1998 against the Jets. After undergoing surgery, the player returned, but was never the same and even tried to play safety and no longer cornerback.
Harry Williams was a very little known receiver in the NFL despite having been with the Jets, Green Bay, Chicago and Giants on the practice squad. In 2008 the Houston Texans gave him the opportunity of a lifetime to pursue a spot on the final roster, but misfortune struck. In a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, Williams, playing on special teams, attempted a tackle but upon colliding with a teammate, hit his head brutally on the turf. He lost mobility and was taken to a hospital after 20 minutes of on-field care. William fractured his C3 vertebra and had neck injuries. Fortunately he regained mobility, although he never played again.
This is how these players live their professional career, they prepare hard and many times due to injuries they lose the season or their professional career, trying to rescue their health.
According to the portal www.sportsinjuryclinic.net, the most common injuries in an American game are:
Knee injury: cruciate ligament rupture, collateral ligament sprain, meniscus rupture.
Ankle Injury: Sprained ankle.
Injuries in the legs in general, thigh or calf: tendon deformity, sprains.
Shoulder injury: dislocated shoulder, AC joint injury.
Head injury: contusion.
One of the post physical therapy success stories is that of Buffalo Bills player Kevin Everett, who suffered a neck injury that resulted in quadriplegia. His rehabilitation treatment yielded unthinkable results when he began walking. Everett suffered a severe spinal cord injury in the first game of the season.
According to sources close to Everett, doctors attending his rehabilitation at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston stated that they were optimistic that the player, at the conclusion of his treatment, would be able to walk normally.
As part of his rehabilitation progress, Everett developed enough strength to stand briefly on his own, and can even use his feet to push himself while sitting in the wheelchair.
That is why these teams have the largest multidisciplinary work force, where one of the most important people for these players to be able to return to play are the physiotherapists, as they are not only experts in movement, but also help them to be more complete athletes with fewer injuries, and support them in quick and successful recoveries.