An NFL Executive Thinks The CBA’s Soft Training Schedule Is Injuring Players
August 7 / Ricky Boebel / SportsGrid
Since training camps have started, we've seen a large numbers of ACL and MCL tears. Many big names have had their seasons ended already and we're not even halfway through training camp. Many are waiving the high rate of injury off as an anomaly, but ESPN's John Clayton talked to an NFL executive that thought otherwise.
Explaining the high number of injuries. The new collective bargaining agreement creates too much time for the players to rest their bodies. As one front office exec told me, long rest helps joints, but long rest isn't great for tendons. The new work rules give players 14 weeks off from the end of the season, seven weeks to train with their teammates and then six to eight weeks off before training camp. If the players aren't doing enough running or training to keep the tendons constantly working, they are vulnerable to the ACL tears, Achilles pulls and other injuries that have hit teams. Many of these injuries have come in non-contact activities. The league and the union need to devote time to figuring out a better offseason strategy to help players stay away from these bad injuries.
It's a logical theory, players haven't been experiencing more joint injuries, it has mainly been tendon and ligament tears. It hasn't just been big name starters like Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin or Dennis Pitta. Plenty of back ups have been experiencing season-ending injuries too, like Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson, Bears defensive lineman Turk McBride Jets cornerback and Aaron Berry to name a few.
This theory also suggests that there injured athletes aren't training during breaks in the offseason schedule. As fans, we like to imagine football players flipping giant truck tires all offseason and running up sand dunes, but it simply doesn't happen in reality. Athletes are human being that need to rest and relaxation just like the rest of us. If you knew you were going to spend the next six months of destroying your body, wouldn't you take a few days off too?
True or false, we'll have to wait another couple of years before we have sufficient proof on whether the new CBA is injuring players. Any argument to be made either way needs more data, which isn't available just two years into the latest labor agreement.