What Caused the Rash of Injuries in Last Sunday’s NFL Games?

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Giants star RB Saquon Barkely went down to an ACL tear this week and will miss the remainder of the NFL season.

Davis Cuffe, Sports Editor

The NFL season is back! After months of doubt and decision, but last Sunday felt a little lackluster. That feeling began during the main slate of games when almost a dozen catastrophic injuries occurred. The first injury reported was to Cam Akers, Rams rookie running back and a second-round pick. He went down to a minor rib injury that should only sideline him for a week or so. After that, it seemed as if the injuries almost ramped up throughout the afternoon. After Akers was Parris Campbell a second-year Colts wide receiver, primed for a breakout. He went down to a PCL injury and had to be carted off the field. After Campbell came former Defensive Rookie of The Year, and superstar player, Nick Bosa, who also had to be carted off. Bosa unfortunately will miss the remainder of the season to an ACL tear. After Bosa was Saquon Barkley, superstar running back for the New York Giants, he also tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. There were four ACL tears, in Sunday’s games, the other two coming from Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos, and Soloman Thomas, DE, 49ers. Other star players to get injured this week included: Davante Adams, Julio Jones, Drew Lock, Christian McCaffery, Anthony Barr, Tavon Young, Malik Hooker, Tyrod Taylor, Malik Hooker, and Sterling Shepherd. In total there were forty players who left Sundays games and did not return. The 49ers had five star players go down to injury in Sundays, game against the Jets. These five included Nick Bosa, Tevin Coleman, Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, and Soloman Thomas. Multiple players on the 49ers came out publicly after the game and attributed these injuries to the poor turf at Metlife Stadium. 49ers LB Fred Warner stated that the field felt ¨sticky¨ unfortunately for Warner and the 49ers, they have to return to Metlife next week to play the New York Giants. While bad turf may be to blame for the 49ers’ injuries what can be attributed to the rest of the league’s injuries?
To find an answer to this question, look no further than the NFL preseason, or lack thereof. This year due to COVID regulations there were no organized team practices or OTAs before. Along with no OTAs, there was no preseason. This meant that many players were forced to work out on their own, and with gyms closed it was difficult for many. While that may have caused some players to come into the season out of shape, it also took away a valuable ramp-up period. In this ramp-up, period players become accustomed to the constant contact and effort that is required to play an NFL football game. This ramp-up is like warm-ups to most players and the lack of this warm-up is a leading cause of soft tissue injuries like Achilles, or ACL tears, and hamstring pulls. But this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in the NFL.
In 2011 there was an NFL lockout caused by players resisting pay cuts. During that 2011 preseason players didn´t participate in OTAs and there was a shortened training camp and preseason. In that season ten players suffered ruptured Achilles tendons before the first preseason game even kicked off. In a normal NFL season, there are only eight Achilles tears each year. There was also a spike in hamstring injuries throughout the NFL season in 2011, which is something we are currently witnessing in the 2020 NFL season.
Unfortunately, there may be no way to truly prove a direct correlation between a shortened offseason and an injury increase, but the topic will surely be a topic of debate throughout the NFL season. Only time will tell what the true cause of these injuries is.