Common Injuries for Football Athletes

Football season is here! We all know that football is one of America’s most popular sports. Like with all sports, football comes with the risk of injury. Football has one of the highest risk of injury compared to any other sport because it is a high-impact sport. Tackling, blocking and other physical interactions between players can result in contusions, sprains as well as other injuries. With the 2014 NFL season looming, we decided to put together a list of the most common football (musculoskeletal) injuries.

What are Musculoskeletal Injuries?

A musculoskeletal injury (MI) refers to damage of muscle or skeleton(bone), which is usually due to a strenuous activity, which is why the following injuries are very common in football players.

Here is a list of some of the most common injuries for football athletes:

  • ACL Injuries: The anterior cruciate ligament in the knee can become damaged or torn when a player has a contact or twisting injury to his or her knee..
  • MCL Injuries: Injury to the medial collateral ligament of the knee is also very common because it occurs when there is a contact injury to the outside of the knee.
  • Torn Meniscus: When a player rotates their body while a foot stays planted, the knee can twist, causing a tear  to the meniscus.
  • Ankle Sprains and/or Strains: Perhaps one of the most common injury in all sports. Ankles are susceptible to soft tissue injury when an athlete plants and pivots their ankle joint when changing direction.
  • Muscle Contusions: A strong impact to a large muscle, usually in the thigh, can cause a contusion. This is basically a large, deep bruise that can impair muscle function.
  • Torn Hamstring: Bursts of speed can cause the hamstrings to tear if the player is not conditioned or properly warmed up.
  • Shoulder Tendinitis: Frequent throwing can cause overuse injuries like shoulder tendinitis from repetitive motions.
  • Shoulder Separation and/or Dislocation: A direct blow to the top of the shoulder can cause a separation of the acromioclavicular joint, while a dislocation occurs when the head of the humerus becomes dislodged from the shoulder joint.

Alfred A. DeSimone, MD
Director of Sports Medicine
Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon