I have always said it isn’t the most talented team that wins; it is the healthiest. That theory held up pretty darn well until the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl last year with 2nd stringers and guys with one leg. I still believe that theory holds up 95% of the time.
Does anyone remember one of Bill Parcells first meetings with the media in which he announced that one of his goals was to cut down on injuries? He referred to a stack of medical charts on his desk that stood a good 12 inches high and swore to cut it in half. Although he was vague in describing how he would accomplish this feat, it was insinuated that he would cut or trade injury prone players and install a better fitness program. I was almost giddy at the thought there was a way to insure our best guys were on the field for every game.
Has there been any progress made in reducing the number of injuries on the Fins the last 3 years? If there has, it is not noticeable. What has been noticeable however, is the number of injuries in the league this year. Take a look at the injury list for week 4. It reads like roll call at a MASH unit. Did you notice any trends? Look at all the muscle pulls. Several players are out or hurting with hamstring injuries or groin pulls, including our own Vontae Davis, Will Allen and Daniel Thomas. Three of our best players. Put Brandon Marshall and Chad Henne on the list and the Fins could save themselves a trip and just concede defeat. Granted, Allen is listed as probable, but is still nursing a hammy.
Can these injuries or others be prevented or minimized? Is the shortened training camp or new CBA rules minimizing practice time and contact responsible? Many people in the media and league are saying yes. The players may have “out bargained” themselves by negotiating more limited, less physical practices. In my opinion, there are three ways to reduce injuries.
- Safety gear: As I have said before, the NFL should partner with NASCAR on an attempt to improve head gear to prevent concussions. Other improvements could possibly be made with padding. In reality, that is about all you can do concerning protective gear.
- Game Rules: If you look back at the history of NFL rule changes , many have been driven by safety. In a previous reader poll on phinphantic.com, over 80% of you thought the NFL had gone to far and the rules incorporated in the name of safety has diminished the game. I agree.
- Physical conditioning: Ah, the variable of the question. How players train and condition undoubtly makes a difference in number of injuries they suffer. On the other hand, I firmly believe that some players are injury prone or “just unlucky”. Medical science has proven through image scanning that bone density differs from person to person, thus making some players more prone to injury than others. I have previously read studies where programs such as yoga that increase flexibility have reduced injuries in all kinds of athletics. I believe it!