As the NFL has turned its focus on preventing head and neck injuries, mainly concussions, we’ve seen a dramatic rise of knee injuries, particularly torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs). This is possibly a result of defenders attempting to lower their point of target (see: Dustin Keller injury).
@ACLRecoveryClub has recorded 62 torn ACLs for the entirety of the 2013 NFL season. Every player matters, but some of the most significant players who were injured include Victor Butler, Jeremy Maclin, Maurkice Pouncey, Sam Bradford, Geno Atkins, Rob Gronkowski, Tyrann Mathieu, Jake Long, Chris Harris, and NaVorro Bowman. Here’s the complete list:
The list does not include players who partially tore ACLs or MCL, LCL, PCL, meniscus, or patella tendon tears. 2013’s number, 62, is significantly up from last year’s (37).
Of all the active players in the NFL, those 62 who tore an ACL account for about 4.2 percent. In 2012, that number was only 2.5 percent. 18 of those 62 who sustained injuries are tight ends and receivers, about 29 percent. It isn’t clear whether those players suffered injuries as a result of low hits when they were defenseless, but the pass-catchers account for more ACL injuries than any other position.
Each team had an average of about two players who tore ACLs. The Eagles, Saints, Panthers, 49ers, Jets, and Steelers were hit the most with the injury bug (4 players each with ACL tears). Out of those six teams, all of the NFC clubs made the postseason despite the injuries.
The Cowboys, Lions, Bears, Raiders, and Ravens were not affected by the injury, as no players from those teams tore ACLs. None of those teams made the playoffs despite being relatively healthy.
One of the main goals of the NFL has been and will be to maintain player safety. But is the league actually putting players at more risk by attempting to minimize head-to-head contact? The torn ACL is one of the most dreaded and gruesome injury in sports, and its impact is often more long-term and more significant than concussions. Leave your thoughts below.
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