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As preparations for Super Bowl XLVIII get underway, hundreds of other players are settling in for a long offseason. Dozens of them will endure even longer stretches of downtime recovery and rehab from a host of injuries suffered during the season. As of Jan. 14, the NFL recorded more than 1,300 injuries to players throughout the 2013/2014 season, including significant damage to players’ upper leg, ankle and knee (as New England cornerback Aqib Talib experienced on Sunday).
SimpleTherapy, an online home exercise therapy service, took it upon itself to breakdown the injuries suffered by a wide range of NFL players this year in an infographic pictured above.
SimpleTherapy Co-founder and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Nic Gay remarked about the data: “It was not a surprise to see that the leg comprised of about half of all injuries. We think this is partially due to the fact that the weight of the body rests on the legs, and this area also takes many hits during a game. If you watched what happened with NaVorro Bowman in the NFC Championship on Sunday, the foot was planted and another players body weight fell on his knee from the side. Because his cleats were dug in to the turf, the knee ligaments became the weakest link and they ripped. This rarely happens with the arms in football.”
Dr. Nic Gay also offered advice on the best approach for an NFL player to take when it comes to flexibility vs. strength training saying, “there is some debate here. But I think most would agree that it is best to have strong muscles that are balanced. So, having tight hamstrings and weak quads is a problem – and vice versa. It may be surprising to some to find out that muscles can be flexible and strong at the same time. This is what every athlete is trying to achieve.”