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Study Tracks Five Years of NFL Injuries and Here’s What It Found

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It seems that every year injuries in the NFL play a significant part in shaping the narrative for that season. In recent years, just the topic of injuries has been a storyline to monitor throughout the season with the league’s focus on preventing concussions and efforts to make the game safer. But, even with these efforts, injuries are still a reality and can happen to any type of player from superstar to benchwarmer.

A recent study put together by medical malpractice law firm Weiss & Paarz tracked every injury recorded in the NFL over the last five seasons. The study is fairly comprehensive and breaks down these injuries by team, overall, by year, etc. Here’s some of what they found:

The teams which suffered the most injuries

Every team suffers injuries but some more than others. Fanbases often like to play the ‘what if’ game and think, “if only [this player for us] hadn’t gotten injured, we would have gone to the big game!” Or, alternatively, they claim that their team was just ‘more banged up’ than their opponents. Luckily, we now have the data to see if that was true or not. 

From 2014 to 2018, the most injured teams in the NFL were:

  1. Seattle Seahawks (1,569 injuries)
  2. New England Patriots (1,550 injuries)
  3. Indianapolis Colts (1,437 injuries)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (1,314 injuries)
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars (1,255 injuries)

While this does not account for the quality of the player injury, it’s one way to define the most injured NFL team. 

Overall injury trends

The study also analyzed injuries overall for the NFL and parsed it by year to look for trends. Overall, with the exception of 2015, injuries have been going up in the NFL each year by a significant margin. As the study notes, this could be because more players and more teams are listing players as injured or generally being more cautious instead of trying to play through an injury. The total count of injuries in 2014 was just over 3,800. In 2018 it was over 7,200.

The most common types of injuries in the NFL

Football is an inherently violent sport and it can cause damage to multiple parts of the body. As far as keeping a player out, these are the most common types of injuries:

  1. Knee
  2. Angle
  3. Hamstring
  4. Foot / feet
  5. Concussion

One of the most interesting takeaways here is that concussions are one of the leading causes for keeping a player out. This certainly speaks to the increased awareness around head injuries. 

Overall, as the report states, injuries will never go away completely from the NFL. Injuries happen in all types of sports, whether contact or not, and certainly the NFL is one of the more physical games to play. We’ll be on the lookout for the 2019 report to see how it compares to previous years. 


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