Some of our fellowship trained sports medicine physicians weigh in on common professional football injuries.
Dr. Argo talks about Achilles tears, a common football injury. The tendon down the back of the leg connecting the calf muscles to the heal bone. Although it is one of the strongest tendons in the body, professional football players often suffer injuries to this tendon. Achilles tendon ruptures almost always require surgery. The surgery actually reattaches the pieces of the tendon together.
Dr. Brannan discusses concussion symptoms. Unlike some other football injuries, there are always immediate symptoms of a concussion. This can occur from rapid deceleration trauma. The first step to treating a concussion is acknowledging that it happened. The next step is removing the athlete from the gain to prevent a second, often worse, injury. Evaluation of neurological abnormalities then ensue, to determine how long the athlete needs to rest before returning to play.
Dr. Phelps provides insights on dealing with injuries on the field. The first step in protecting an injured player is to keep other athletes away to avoid doing further harm. Second, make sure that the player is breathing okay and responding normally. Acute injuries should most often be treated at a local orthopaedic practice or medical facility.
Dr. Kremchek talks about ligament injuries to quarterbacks. These injuries are often caused by fatigue, being hit with an extended arm, or hyper extending the elbow while going for a touchdown. Similar to tendon injuries in baseball, the treatment is a Tommy John surgery. Fortunately, since most football quarterbacks throw over their shoulder, the recovery time is faster.
Dr. McClung discusses the four ligaments of the knee. There are two collateral ligaments and two cruciate ligaments in the knee that help connect the tibia to the femur. The two collateral ligaments are the medial collateral (MCL) and the lateral collateral (LCL) while the two cruciate ligaments are the anterior cruciate ligament and the posterior cruciate ligament.
Dr. Rodway provides insights on neck injuries, particularly strains and sprains. These are soft tissue injuries to the neck. Fortunately, neither of these are career ending and do not require surgery. The best way to prevent neck injuries in football is to use proper tackling techniques. Wearing cowboy collars can also assist in safety.
Dr. Velazquez speaks about preventing turf toe, another common football injury. Turf toe is pain at the base of the toe often caused by pushing off or jumping. This can cause tearing of the capsule underneath the toe. Turf toe is treated by immobilization, rest, and sometimes anti-inflammatory medication.