Week two in the National Football League saw a substantial amount of injuries. Among the big-name players who went down included Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle), New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (ACL), Seattle Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin (ACL), and Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (ACL). The San Francisco 49ers were hit particularly hard that week. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (high-ankle sprain), Pro Bowl defensive end Nick Bosa (ACL), running back Raheem Mostert (high-ankle sprain), and others were injured in their victory over the New York Jets.
Injuries are, of course, an every-season occurrence and expected. But the NFL’s unusual offseason, which was altered significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has added a different layer to how injuries appear to be occurring during the 2020 NFL season. Throughout the course of this season, there has been a sharp increase in soft-tissue injuries — and specific ones, such as ruptured Achilles tendons, appear to occur at fairly alarming rates. Well, as it turns out, there appears to be a direct connection between the lack of a typical offseason program and the increased soft-tissue injury rate.
Dr. Lyle Cain, who is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center in Alabama, has studied the data — in both college football and the NFL — to this point and believes there’s a clear connection. “Back when COVID was getting started in March, April, May, most of us were worried about soft-tissue injuries — hamstrings, Achilles and things like that, where you have to have a certain amount of elasticity and tissue compensation built up in your system to be able to handle really quick, explosive movements,” Dr. Cain told Yahoo Sports.