Few sports catch the same attention as American Football, especially its most famous and important league: the National Football League (NFL). Still, many people consider the NFL a dangerous league where a lot of bad things can happen every game day.
As the league draws more attention every year, many casual fans may think the sport is extreme. As it happens in every other discipline, injuries take place in the NFL, and some are more gruesome than others.
However, this isn’t something that happens only in this league, and players can ensure that injuries won’t be a common thing for them. Not everybody can take a lot of damage, which is why some players’ careers were cut short. On the other hand, others extended their time on the gridiron, even making history in the league.
Current and future players need to be ready to play against the most difficult rivals they can find in this sport and also the hidden dangers of being a football player. Therefore, we’re going to take a look at some safety tips that can help players be more secure on the pitch.
By no means this will prevent somebody from getting hurt, but the possibilities will be considerably lower.
Some Safety Tips
Hydration is very important not only for NFL players but athletes in general. Competing at the highest level takes a toll on their bodies and they must be ready for the unexpected.
New England Patriots team physician Gian Corrado, MD, emphasizes that staying hydrated is mandatory for athletes, especially those competing at the highest level.
“While the regular football season runs from fall to winter, preseason training occurs in the summer during high heat and humidity. Those factors, combined with bulky padding and the intense physical exertion of players who may have taken a break from conditioning, can be dangerous or even deadly. So, awareness and monitoring of temperature and weather conditions is a key focus.
“Players should hydrate leading up to training sessions, take regular water breaks, and rest in shaded areas between activities. We have fans, ice packs, cold towels, and tents at the ready for anyone experiencing overheating, dizziness, or discomfort.”
Just like in every other sport, warming up before getting to the action is important. Having quick and healthy legs is a must for these players, and preparing them to compete at their peak should always be first on the players’ lists.
“You see all the same sorts of injuries you see during the season, like overuse injuries, tackle or impact related trauma, and concussions, but also heat-related conditions and injuries like torn muscles or shin splints that result from failure to warm up and ramp up adequately.
Some fairly common football injuries are those to the ACL/knee, the groin, and the hamstring. All three of these injuries can seriously derail an athlete, and so we implement injury prevention programs targeting these areas,” Corrado adds.
While warming up is important before the game, so is resting in between days. The body has a limit and trying to take it over that will cost players sooner or later.
“The players have had varying periods of inactivity after the end of last season. Their bodies may not be accustomed to strenuous exercise and weight training, because even a few weeks of rest can take someone playing at this level out of shape. As the players get back into shape, we focus on strength and flexibility in order to prevent injury,” the Patriots doctor points out.
Using the proper equipment is a must if you want to keep your game at the best level and perform as expected. Football players are required to wear a series of items to make sure they are protected against the hard hits they may get every game.
Wearing helmets, shoulder pads, hip pads, tail pads, and knee pads are a must. Pants, thigh guards, and athletic supporters also belong to this list. You can learn more here about the history of some of the most famous NFL helmets, from the Denver Broncos.
The mouthguard is also a must for football players, as it not only protects the teeth but the lips, the jaw, the cheek, and the tongue.
The League Keeps Trying
Even though the league has earned plenty of criticism for making some changes, in reality, all these rules have been created to help some players elevate their game, reach new heights, and perform at the best level in every game.
Considering the way the game was played at the beginning, the NFL has come a long way. The players are the product, and they try with everything to protect them. Some might like it, some don’t, but these are the most effective ways to prevent getting injured.