Why? So Many Flies Keep Dropping in the NFL’s Barbecue

Andrew Charniga


Biological Springs Cannot Just Snap Like Twigs

Andrew Charniga


“What the oblique is going on?”(Verducci, T. 2021)

A series of essays (Charniga, 2015 – 2021) has endeavored to shed light onto the growing problem enveloping the aberrant injury ridden landscape of American sports. Although recognition of the conundrum would seem to be growing; as incidences across dynamic sports with significantly different formats such as football, baseball, baseball, soccer and so forth are inextricably linked by a common thread of strikingly similar incidence; unifying the injury landscape; a cause and effect logic of injury susceptibility; a purview of critical thinking, does not.

Critical Thinking: Cause & Effect

A consilience of induction has affirmed reasons put forth for the growing fragility of Biological springs in American sport (Charniga 2020);  in terms of cause and effect: strikingly similar injuries abound despite different circumstances such as different sport protocols, footwear, playing surfaces, sex (female events) technological interventions (three dimensional analysis for personalized footwear) video/force plate analysis of jumping, ‘pre – hab’ exercise protocols and so forth.

There is a direct connection; a common thread if you will; linking injury susceptibility in football, basketball, baseball, soccer and others, to the incongruous amalgamation directly and indirectly involved in the preparation of athletes for these dynamic sports: strength and conditioning coaches; athletic trainers; physical therapists; phony research claims; academics; charlatans (hocking exercise and training methods); made up for sale nonsense such as core training, functional training, and so forth.( see Charniga,A., www.sportivnypress.com)

Figures 1-4. Abundant evidence demonstrates (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Nrqe5z2YDk) muscular strength is widely perceived in the USA to be an exclusivity of an aggressive masculinity; at all levels of sport; from high school to professional ranks.  Most training rooms are little more than playpens of aggressiveness, effusive anger and assertive behavior expressed in the form of self – assertively performed, low skill exercises with little or no carry over benefit to dynamic sports. Inclusive are efforts to inculcate aggressiveness in female athletes (on left, figure 3); despite evidence training females for aggressiveness is not appropriate: see examples of super elite female weightlifting champions on the right in figures 3&4 performing the same exercises, relaxed; sans spotter, sans screaming coach. Charniga photo

For instance, the unnatural, yet now become commonplace, Achilles tendon rupture in the NFL lead to the recognition the rising incidence and the growing prevalence of non – contact lower extremity injury in American sports in general; were linked. A method of reverse engineering was devised to ascertain the why & how such a catastrophic injury as Achilles Tendon rupture, cannot be prevalent, yet has become widespread, even commonplace. The Achilles problem lead to the realization that it was connected to a growing incidence of non – contact lower extremities in American sport. The substance of this realization is the fact the human body functions in dynamic sport as an unified whole; yet, is generally perceived and trained for prevention and treatment of injury as a composite of non – integrated parts.

A reverse engineering method applied to understand the prolonged rise in incidence of injury against the backdrop of Olympic weightlifting is an inverse predicative of sport injury. The logic of selecting weightlifting as the backdrop: stress/strain energies the weightlifter’s lower extremities are subject are arguably the highest in sport; knee injury rates are very low, especially amongst female weightlifters; whereas, Achilles tendon blow outs are virtually non – existent.   


Figure 5. Stress/strain energies weightlifters’ inflict on lower extremities; especially Achilles  tendon; are exponentially greater than those resulting catastrophic non – contact injuries to football, basketball, soccer players and others in American dynamic sports.  Charniga photo. 

Train wrecks in Baseball?

When one takes into account that the relatively modest power generated and joint stresses characteristic of baseball; are rather benign in comparison to football; especially weightlifting;  the incidence of similar lower extremity injuries in major league players falls under a consilience of induction conclusion as to cause and effect. The same training and medical practices identified in football, basketball and other sports as problematic; are circumstances now common in the training and care of the players in MLB.

For instance, consider press reports below of the injury landscape of, by comparison to weightlifting, the rather limpid sport of professional baseball:

“Mike Trout’s Injuries Symbolize Baseball’s Most Pressing Issue

“Three of the players often mentioned in the conversation of “best player in baseball” are hurt: Trout, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. The three best pitchers in baseball are on the injured list: Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole and Shane Bieber. Other huge stars who can’t play include Alex Bregman, Clayton Kershaw, Francisco Lindor, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Justin Verlander and Anthony Rizzo.

Five of the 10 highest-paid players are out because of health: Trout, Cole, Verlander, Strasburg and Kershaw. The injured list on Sunday included 288 players who have spent an average of 58 days on the IL while collecting $278.7 million not to play. (COVID-19 cases accounted for less than 10% of the IL placements: 26.) (https://www.si.com/mlb/2021/08/09/mike-trout-injury-epidemic-the-opener)

Train Wrecks Without Trains or Tracks

Considerable details expostulated in previous essays concerning the training and care athletes are subject in the form of strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers, sub – contracted practitioners of Navy Seals training, and so forth; all to prepare for dynamic sport. Such incongruity has a proven track record of producing injury susceptible, fragile athletes (see Charniga, “Why safe is unsafe”) who litter the landscape of American sport. These injury susceptible athletes are not adequately prepared to release or otherwise redistribute the mechanical of energy of running, change of direction on the athletic field and court; unanticipated falls, avoiding tacklers (cutting); even stumbling on the athletic field, or court, i.e., activities inherent to dynamic sports. 

Tendons such as Achilles, ligaments and fascia are so -called bio – materials (Biewener, 2003). The stress/strain breaking points are such; the demands on these materials encountered on the athletic field, or, court; should preclude the rampant failure rate which has become commonplace in American sport (Biewener, 2003). That is, unless extra – energy, which could be better characterized as “dynamic resistance” (Latash, Zatsiorksy, 2016) to movement inhibits mobility of joints; extensibility of tendons, ligaments and muscle antagonists.  The extra – energy in the form of a “dynamic resistance” to movement compromises the overall compliance of the athlete’s body; all the more so, because muscle relaxation skills can be minimal or non – existent. For instance, examples in see figures 1 – 4 of strength training with aggressiveness contrasted with the relaxed training of super elite female weightlifters.  

The extra – energy exacerbating “dynamic resistance” to movements in dynamic sports are cultivated by chronic application of slow, low coordination bodybuilding/powerlifting exercises; use of exercise machines performed to fatigue, with artificially restricted range of motion in joints; and, if applicable, likewise simple physical therapy machine exercises; exacerbated by taping and bracing to prevent normal amplitude of motion in joints.

These training and perceived injury prophylactic practices can make athletes easily susceptible to fatigue in dynamic sport (see examples of back-round static exercise, i.e., prolonged straining with aggressiveness in figures 1- 4). The lessons for the negative effects of training with so much back -round static were learned long ago from Soviet era sport science research: 

“This causes (prolonged straining) too much excitation in those groups of muscles which should be relaxed during this action. Unnecessary tension in these muscles creates additional resistance for the working muscles, reducing the speed of contraction and accelerating the onset of fatigue.”  Falameyev, A. I., Salnikov, V. A., Kimeishei, B.V., 1980. Translated by Andrew Charniga

For instance, it has been hypothesized the term fatigue should be avoided because there are so many permutations of this Biological state, a single catch – all term could only serve to confuse. On that note, it would be difficult discover more confusion; as to the dubious value exercising to a state of fatigue; than in the training rooms of USA colleges, universities and professional teams (see Charniga, “Why safe is unsafe”, www.sportivnypress.com)

Instead of cultivating the crucial skills to release, to dissipate and/or otherwise re – distribute the mechanical energy encountered in falling, tackling, rapid changes of direction characteristic of dynamic sports; the athletes who are visibly over – straining in figures 1 – 4 develop a reservoir of ‘extra – energy’ in the form of an internal resistance (Sokolov, 1971) manifested in ‘dynamic resistance’ to movements; which serve to diminish the natural stress/strain limits of tendons and ligaments, i.e., laying the tracks for train wrecks.

This unseen, difficult to  quantify, ‘extra – energy’ of internal resistance explains how it is possible to exceed the natural redundant stress/strain limits of the human body’s tendon/ligament/fascia spring mechanisms; which result in such catastrophic injury as an Achilles tendon rupture:

“The maximum operating strain/stress of a bio -material is much lower than its failure stress or failure strain.” A. Biewener, 2003

One can envision the relatively sudden appearance, now become commonplace, catastrophic injury such as Achilles tendon (AT) rupture, the perfusion of ankle injuries, hamstring, non – contact ACL tears, non – contact Lisfranc (‘falling off a horse’ fracture), Jones fractures, pedal foot (car accident) fractures, tibial plateau (hit by car ‘bumper crossing the street’) fractures, plantar fascia tears; as train wrecks. The problem with these non – contact injury ‘train wreck’s; there was no train in sight; no sign of tracks; just athletes running and jumping about the field and court! 

A comprehensive review of reasons (excuses) which have appeared in the literature for ‘train wrecks’ is not within the purview of this essay. However, a few of the most common excuses may serve to elucidate why those proposing these irrational, outside the bounds of common sense are unable to see the train for the tracks. 

For example, even though the NFL has commissioned nondescript research to determine if the artificial playing surface (turf) used in most stadiums can make athletes susceptible to non – contact lower extremity injury such as the catastrophic Achilles tendon rupture. Not too difficult to make surveys have shown:  

“We therefore hypothesize that field type does not factor into AT ruptures and that players are just as likely to tear on grass fields as on turf.” (1)

This particular survey (1) confirms what had already been deduced years ago through consilience of induction (Charniga, 2016-2020) concerning AT tears  in football, basketball, baseball and other sports: the playing surface is not the cause of injury.

Figure 6. Slips and falls in the ultra – high intensity sport of Olympic weightlifting rarely result in injury even with barbell in hands. Reactive muscle relaxation skills enhance the overall compliance of the weightlifter’s body to dissipate or otherwise re – distribute the mechanical energy of falling, slipping and so forth; greatly reducing injury susceptibility. Charniga photo.  

Volitional relaxation of muscles is an integral part of the elite weightlifter’s skill set to raise maximum weights. The ability to willfully relax muscles becomes a natural injury prophylactic; a prerequisite facilitating involuntary relaxation of muscles (see figure 6):

“the ability to volitionally relax the muscles leads to a perfection of the mechanism of involuntary relaxation of muscles”. Shuvalov, G.A. Translated by Andrew Charniga

An innate skill to instantaneously, involuntarily relax muscles, coupled with suppleness, is an injury prophylactic; allowing an athlete in dynamic sport avoid injury by reacting to dissipate or otherwise re- distribute the mechanical energy of a slip, fall and so forth (see figure 6). The opposite qualities are inculcated in such settings as depicted in figures 1 – 4.  Examples such as these are in essence, factories churning out injury susceptible athletes for dynamic sports. 

For example, the following is a sample of an illogical exercise related prophylactic for Achilles injury:

Do a slow progressive stretch, but never bounce during stretching.” https://www.si.com/edge/2015/04/16/rothman-sports-medicine-achilles-injuries-kobe-bryant

Consider the complete lack of common sense in the above quote for prevention of Achilles rupture with slow stretching. Stretching the Achilles “slowly”; but never bounce” is a good example of avoiding an approaching train by laying one’s head on the tracks. No one stretches their Achilles slowly on the basketball court, football field, and so forth. In point of fact, the speed and power athletes generate in dynamic sports would not be possible were it not for rapid stretch and recoil of Biological springs like the Achilles.

Conversely, weightlifters for whom Achilles injury are virtually unknown; routinely bounce out a deep squat, even multiple times, with a heavy barbell on outstretched arms, or on the chest. Weightlifters routinely subject tendons and ligaments to huge stress/strain energies; greatly exceeding the commonplace tendon snapping energies of basketball, football and the like (see female weightlifters in figure 5). Consequently, just the opposite, lightly bouncing stretches (within reason) is the safe bet as an injury prophylactic because this energetic mimics most closely normal conditions in dynamic sports. 

Preparing for dynamic sport with ‘safe’ slow bending in the gym or in the athletic training or therapy room; as a special prerequisite for running, jumping and/or falling fast on the court, or field; will more than likely prepare an athlete inversely for normal sport enterprises; which as a result, will become dangerous. That makes perfect sense.

Some factors believed to cause Achilles injury susceptibility which have appeared in the literature are: type O blood; high arches; antibiotics; lack of properly fitting shoes; the AT (Achilles tendon) has naturally poor blood supply.

“Men are more susceptible to Achilles injuries and they occur most often during the spring and summer months. There are many known risk factors for rupturing an Achilles tendon, including high arches, an O blood type and certain antibiotics, but most of these injuries happen as a result of tendon overuse. https://www.si.com/edge/2015/04/16/rothman-sports-medicine-achilles-injuries-kobe-bryant

From this silliness emanating from academia, one might conclude that the unheard of AT tear in weightlifting is due to:

/ there is no ‘overuse’ of the Achilles tendon in weightlifting (see figure 5);

/ there are very few if any weightlifters with type O blood;

/ weightlifters don’t get sick (hence no need for antibiotics);

/ weightlifters have flat feet;

/ weightlifters get blood injected into their Achilles on a regular basis to stay safe.

/ weightlifters use specialized fitting shoes.


Figure. Olympic champion weightlifter snatching 130 kgs in nature’s special fitting shoes. Kono photo.

Along those same lines of anti – logic causative factors; one of the suggested cause and effect reasons for the huge number of American  females who suffer ACL tears in basketball, soccer, volleyball and so forth is the hormone estrogen; which is purported to loosen and otherwise weaken ligaments. Administration of birth control pills to protect young girls knees has been a palliative suggested.


/ the reason knee injuries in general and ACL tears in particular are of a very low incidence in female weightlifters is because female weightlifters are neutered for participation.    

Figures 7&8 . Unlike female athletes in American sports; injury incidence of female weightlifters is very low, typically lower than male weightlifters; even in the event of the unexpected. Charniga photos

Logical cause and effect as well as reasonable solutions to incidence of non – contact lower injury has been confirmed with consilience of induction; already presented in sufficient detail (Charniga, 2015 – 2021). However, most ‘science’ literature of the subject is in fact devoid any logical cause and effect, even reasonable common sense solutions; confirmed by the the literature’s assertions concerning lower extremity injuries:

“Despite the effort made for prevention and treatment of these injuries (Brooks et al., 2005), their incidence has not decreased “. (Gabbett, 2016).

Without question, the principle reason logical solutions to the injury conundrum are elusive is because those directly or indirectly involved with the training and care of the athletes and/or responsible for the spread of misinformation; of the pseudo – knowledge; emanating from academia, look in all the wrong places, i.e., they are part of the problem.       

For instance, consider the statement below concerning the incidence of Achilles tendon injury:

“AT ruptures are relatively infrequent events, with only 101 documented tears over a 7-year time span. This reduced the possibility for significance in this retrospective data analysis.” Ready, 2021 (1)

Not true. AT ruptures are not “relatively infrequent”. The authors are correct; they just have it backwards. Their retrospective data analysis is not significant because it is inaccurate; more importantly, the rate of incidence factor is absent; not to mention a ‘why’ for the sudden manifestation of a now, inordinately commonplace, non – contact lower extremity injury epidemic.

For instance, Achilles tendon ‘infrequency’ struck a 2021 pre – training camp workout of the Canadian football league; four (4) Saskatchewan Roughriders players suffered Achilles tears; six minutes apart; in non – contact drills,. i.e., running about the field. Over the next few weeks five (5)  more victims of the same ‘infrequent’ catastrophic injury added to the league’s pre – season toll of at least nine (9); and, it was only July. By the way, there are only nine (9) teams in the CFL: 

“Officially nine players have suffered season-ending Achilles injuries, five in Saskatchewan, two in Montreal, one in Winnipeg and one in Calgary.”h ttps://3downnation.com/2021/07/27/that-has-been-the-injury-of-the-year-stamps-dave-dickenson-very-sad-for-players-suffering-torn-achilles/

The Ohio State University football team experienced at least one Achilles tendon (AT) injury during spring football practice in 2018, 2019, 2020; in addition, another player suffered AT during the 2020 season. And, that is only one NCAA football program. Obtaining an accurate accounting of just that injury would, at best, be difficult; as reporting of injury incidence, even in this collegiate program is at best opaque. For instance: “The football program’s policy is not to detail injuries, citing privacy concerns.  https://www.buckeyextra.com/sports/20200305/sources-say-ohio-state-running-back-master-teague-iii-suffered-achilles-injury

The excuse for a lack of forthrightness because of “privacy concerns” is rather disingenuous. Big time collegiate football programs can fill stadiums with 100,000 and more spectators who purchase expensive tickets, especially season tickets to see teams play; all the more so, with their favorite players on the field. At the very least, universities have a fiduciary responsibility to inform the public, the fans, i.e., their de facto customers; of the legitimacy of the product they sell.

By 2/15/2022 of the NFL 2021/2022 season there were a reported 25 Achilles injuries; and by 11/11/2021 a reported 10 in NCAA football. The collegiate football figures are highly suspect as many schools do not report injuries, report unrealistically low numbers and/or many report reason for absences as  ‘unspecified’, or cite ‘privacy’ concerns.

For example, Ohio State reported no AT injuries on their squad as of 11/28/2020; even though there was one in spring practice and one during the season. The recovery time from an AT injury can be up to one year. The University of Central Florida is a another example of purposeful ambiguity. The football program reported 15 players out for the season; or, out indefinitely on 11/28/2020. The reasons listed were knee (3), Achilles (1); the rest were reported out for “personal”. It was left to the imagination as to what body part “personal” referred.

This and other incidences further illustrate the vagaries of tracking even a single injury such as  Achilles tear/rupture. For instance:

A projected first round pick linebacker of the NFL 2022 draft from the University of Michigan “suffered a torn Achilles during his pro day workout at the school”. (https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/33545367/michigan-lb-david-ojabo-suffered-torn-achilles-pro-day-miss-six-months-source-says)

Accordingly, this anecdote further illustrates the complexity of accurately accounting for injuries attributed to NFL participation. In this instance, the athlete was practicing football drills; was neither in college; nor had as yet been selected by an NFL team. He was in between. Had he not been a highly ranked collegiate player; it is unlikely the episode would have been widely reported. Which of course means, ascertaining number of similar incidents that go unreported would be difficult.

The injury to the would be NFL first round pick would not be expected to be reported on the NFL injury list until; or, unless he was selected and became an official team member. Consequently, the figure of 25 Achilles tears for the 2021 – 2022 season reported below could at the very least be inaccurate – on the low side.      

Another part of the same problem is the rush to find means and methods to return athletes to the field as soon as possible after injury. Under these circumstances an injured athlete is typically exposed to textbook knowledge of practices from questionable research of therapy and athletic training. These team staff apply this highly questionable knowledge to best prepare an injured body part to function in the complex of unified, inter-conditional, interdependent amalgamation of inter- connected parts of the human body.

For instance, a soon after rehab re – injury to an athlete’s contra – lateral side is a distinct possibility (See Charniga, “Nerves Crossing & Unbalanced Equilibrium in Sport” www.sportivnypress.com) :   

“Brooks, 32, has been hit hard by injuries in recent years. He tore his right Achilles tendon in a 2018 playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints. Brooks made a quick recovery to play every game in 2019 and earn his third Pro Bowl bid, but he suffered a left Achilles tear in the summer of 2020 and missed the entire season.” https://www.nfl.com/news/eagles-guard-brandon-brooks-announces-retirement-after-10-seasons

As far as the NBA is concerned; a rejuvenation trend in Achilles injuries has been observed: “… an average age of 29.2; with eight under the age of 25 and 12 at or under the mean age of the NBA, i.e., a rejuvenation trend. “…. 26 of 32  of these catastrophic injuries have occurred since 2000; six in 2019 alone. Becoming all the more commonplace, an Achilles tendon rupture used to be an injury doctors would see most often with 40 – 50 year old males who were injured playing pick up basketball.:” (Charniga,A.,  “Of ‘Flat Tires’ & Brittle Basketball Players”, 07/24/2019).

A good case was made for growing popularity of the three point play in the NBA and collegiate basketball as a safer alternative to driving in close proximity to the basket; where quick cutting movements are more likely to result in lower extremity injury; even though near proximity to the basket is the better tactic;  a higher likelihood to result in a score (Charniga, 2019).

For instance, a typical example of a ‘dangerous play’ in the NBA is depicted in the figure when a player suffers serious knee injury (ACL tear) cutting and planting to shoot close to the basket (see figures).

Figure. NBA player suffers ACL injury to left knee cutting into the paint for a shot close to the basket.

Achilles injuries are reported in collegiate basketball. However, collegiate and especially high school reporting accuracy is suspect and overall standards are significantly lower than in the professional ranks. Actual incidence is undoubtedly much higher than reported at these levels; remember there are “privacy concerns”.

The big difference between professional and the collegiate programs in the realm of reporting injuries is common knowledge. The practice of (reasonably) accurate reporting injuries in  professional sports is for the express purpose of informing gamblers.

The pertinent  questions the literature leaves unanswered are: when did this injury start to become commonplace; and, more importantly why? And, why so many non – contact lower extremity injuries in general; spread across multiple sports, played on different surfaces, with different shoes and so forth? The obvious reason those questions are left unanswered in any meaningful way; or, ridiculous reasons put forth as to cause and effect; classroom knowledge is part of the problem, not the solution.   

In point of fact, Achilles tendon ruptures are not infrequent events. They have become commonplace in American sport; along with ACL tears; Lisfranc and Jones fractures, and a host of other non – contact lower extremity maladies.  

Landing Awkwardly & No Train Tracks

“Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. had to be helped to the locker room during Wednesday’s 138-112 loss to the Brooklyn Nets after landing awkwardly on his right leg 36 seconds into the game.” https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/33054390/chicago-bulls-derrick-jones-jr-exits-knee-injury-brooklyn-nets

A common phrase expressed, especially in sports writer and sports commentator speak; when a basketball, football player or major league baseball player injures a knee, ankle or Achilles tendon running, landing one foot first, cutting “on air” to avoid a tackle and various other maneuvers is to attribute the injury to an ‘awkward’ landing or running step. The Merriam Webster defines awkward: “lacking dexterity or skill; lacking ease or grace; showing the result of a lack of expertness”.

How can it be so many super elite athletes of the NFL, NBA and MLB who have been playing, practicing and perfecting their respective sports for many years, suddenly demonstrate a “lack of dexterity, skill, ease or grace, expertness”?

That being said, here are a few samples of train wrecks with no trains in sight:

1/ “Video of the injury (Achilles rupture) showed Jones go down untouched during a coverage drill. He initially looked around, thinking a football hit his heel, but didn’t see one.”

2/ “McKinnon will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the injury, which he reportedly suffered while making what San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan described to reporters as “a cut on air.”

3 / Washihngton Redskins rookie running back tears ACL: Guice said after the game that he planted his foot fighting for the last yards and hyperextended the knee

4/ Patriots running back Jeremy Hill will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL during the team’s 27–20 win over the Texans, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He was injured when he chased after Houston’s Tyrann Mathieu

“The things that pass for knowledge I can’t understand”, (Becker & Fagen)

Figure. Division 1A (at the time of video) strength and conditioning coach ‘getting after it’. An  inspiration to players? Subsequent to this ‘getting after it’ incident; in a coaching stint with the New York Giants;  after the latest season under his care the team reported 27 players on the injury list as of 2/15/22:  all were reported as IR (injured reserve) or questionable for training camp 2022 including the following injuries: ankle (6); knee – ACL (5) ; knee – (3); Achilles (2).

The following statement was quoted directly from the current website of the Denver Broncos football team in the resume of the head S&C coach:

“He developed the ACL prevention program and the ACL return to sport protocols for the world-renowned Steadman Hawkins Clinic.” Website of Denver Broncos Football team

As of 01/07/2022 the Denver Broncos listed the following injuries: Knee – ACL + MCL – (2); Knee – ACL – (4); knee (2); Ankle (3); IR – (14); Questionable (7). Am I missing something here? Or, does eight (8) knee injuries seem like a lot for a team under the care of a knee injury expert?

Charniga, A., (“Dropping like flies at a barbecue”, www.sportivnypress.com) revealed the NFL reported a combined (at least) 261 injuries from the knee down from spring training 2020 to 12/31/2020; with 350 athletes reported to be on IR (injured reserve). By February 8, 2021 the league reported a whopping 435 players were questionable for training camp. At its apex, there were 18 Achilles tears for the 2020-2021 season. The official toll of seventeen (17) for the preceding season was actually 19; they failed to count the two head coaches who went down during the season with Achilles tear.   

Table 1. Some lower extremity injuries in the NFL over the progress of another “injury godzilla” 2021-22 season.

Date Below Knee knee Total IR Quest
8/16/2021 71 68 139 61+5* 282
08/31/2021 78 82 160 121+18* 327
09/15/2021 62 79 141 181 116
09/30/2021 92 99 191 239 192
10/07/2021 101 108 209 251 209
10/27/2021 96 106 202 282 156
11/11/2021 121 133 254 301 210
11/26/2021 114 137 251 315 182
01/12/2022 119 146 265 375 149
1/30/2022 119 135 254 345 334***
2/15/2022 122 136 258 455##
Achilles/25 ++   Hamstring/44**      
  • an additional 112 were listed as questionable for training camp; a further 12 were listed NFI-R;
  •  NFI-R Non  football related injury questionable for camp; which included injuries such as Achilles, Knee – ACL, pectoral and others
  • Knee: knee injuries (ACL, MCL, meniscus);
  • Below knee: injuries below knee;
  • IR: injured reserve;
  • Achilles and Hamstring numbers represent the individual peak numbers for the season;
  • Achilles injury were included in running count of below knee injuries
  • ++ Achilles The figure of 24 reported on 2 -15- 2022 is at the very least – low. The Rams listed a player on the IL on 08/16/2021 with Achilles injury suffered 07/28/2021. He was not on the 02-15-2022 list. Apparently surgery and or therapy returned him to the active list as he started in the 2022 super bowl for the LA Rams. That would bring the reported Achilles injury figures for 2021 – 2022 season to a least 25!
  • ## The number of players (455) who are questionable for the start of training camp.

The figures presented in the table are eye popping to say the least. There were a reported 265 injuries from the knee down; of which (a record#?) 25++ were the catastrophic Achilles injury by 2/15/2022. A staggering 345 + 334 = 679 players were listed as IR or questionable for training camp on 01-30- 2022. By the time the super bowl had concluded the IR designation had been replaced with simply “questionable for the start of training camp. The ‘questionable’ tabulation of 455 exceeds the previous year’s total of 435.

Are the Baltimore Ravens the NFL’s poster child of ineptitude?

Perhaps, yet not, necessarily a definitive assessment; the NFL’s most inept (injury susceptible) team are the Baltimore Ravens. The team reported a total of 26 athletes on the injury list by 2/15/2022. The injuries were inclusive: /Knee – ACL -4; /Knee – 3; /Achilles – 4; / Foot – 3; / Hamstring – 1; / Ankle – 2; 26 players questionable for training camp.

A bizarre anecdote to an untimely end to a Raven’s practice session may shed more light on what would otherwise seem an unjustified use of the word ineptitude:

“The Baltimore Ravens‘ horrid run of injuries continued Thursday when cornerback Marcus Peters and running back Gus Edwards both suffered season-ending torn ACLs in practice, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Peters went down with a knee injury first and Edwards was injured a few plays later, according to a source. Ravens coach John Harbaugh then called an end to practice, the source added.” Edwards becomes the third Ravens running back to suffer a season-ending injury in a span of 12 days. J.K. Dobbins tore the ACL in his left knee in the preseason finale Aug. 28, and Justice Hill hurt an Achilles tendon Sept. 2.” https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/33187946/baltimore-ravens-turn-every-stone-examining-injury-issues-coach-john-harbaugh-says

Well then, after two players suffered season ending injuries within minutes of each other; the coach suspended practice; presumably, while enough players to field a team were still left standing. Why the injuries in practice; an ionic storm maybe, or someone sticking pins in dolls? Suspension of practice to avoid injuring more players sidesteps the problem; like saying, I am Ok and you are Ok; essentially those conditions of the practice field at the time were to blame; instead of laying the blame where it really rests – the pre – conditions leading up to the practice field.

For instance, consider this proclamation (the pre – conditions) a confirmation that cultivating a culture of delusion with regards to strength and training to fatigue as a measure of fitness can elicit negative ramifications:

“Holy smokes, Steve is killing us in there with the running and the lifting,” Weddle said. “I can guarantee you this: We will be the strongest, most in-shape Ravens team that this team has ever had.“ https://www.baltimoreravens.com/news/new-offseason-program-will-make-ravens-most-in-shape-team-ever-18765152

This is actual ineptitude! You can’t make up stuff like this!


“College football’s unchecked conditioning culture is dangerous for players” https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/college-footballs-unregulated-conditioning-cultureis dangerous-for-all-players/

A general review of literature reveals frequent injury to lower extremities in American sport has become commonplace. However, for the most part, there is little or no acknowledgement excessive lower extremity injury, especially non – contact, has become akin to a train wreck. However, what baffles the scientists with the data; not only has the train left when the numbers people arrive; there are no train tracks at the sites: the basketball courts, the football and soccer fields, the baseball diamonds and so forth. 

/ Since the science, the academics, are part and parcel the problem; the only logical chances of relief would have to come from outside those ‘lines’.

/ As bad as all this may look, not to worry, it is in all probability worse. The opaqueness of reporting semantics, i.e., incidences noted as “undisclosed”; the number of athletes who are injured in practice and are not even counted; makes even the actual figures reported by the NFL suspect. And, in turn, the figures from collegiate and high school sports; even the more suspect. 


/ Charniga, A., “Achilles tendon ruptures and the NFL”, www.sportivnypress.com

Charniga, A., “Dropping like flies at a barbecue”, www.sportivnypress.com

/Charniga, A., “Practical-solutions-to-the-problem-of-achilles-rupture-and-the-proliferation-of-injuries-to-the-lower-extremities-of-football-players”, /https://www.sportivnypress.com/2019

/Charniga, A., “Why-safe-is-unsafe”, /https://www.sportivnypress.com/2017

/Charniga, A., “Hamstring-injury-in-sport”, /https://www.sportivnypress.com/2021

/ G.A. Shuvalov, G.A., “Effect of the Ability to Volitionally Relax the Muscles of the Display of Speed – Strength Qualities”, Teoriya I Praktika Fizicheskoi Kultury

/ Verduci, T., https://www.si.com/mlb/2021/08/09/mike-trout-injury-epidemic-the-opener

/ 1. Ready L. V., et al “Influence of Preseason vs. in season play on Achilles tendon injuries in the national football league” Brown University Providence, RI, The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 9(12), 23259671211056083 DOI: 10.1177/23259671211056083 ª The Author(s) 20212. Brophy, R.H., et al

/ 3. “Acute impact of Nordic hamstring exercise on sprint performance after 24, 48 and 72 hours” Alonso-Fernandez, D. D. Alonso-Fernandez, J. Lopez-Barreiro, R. Garganta & Y. Taboada-Iglesias(2021) Sports Biomechanics, DOI: 10.1080/14763141.2021.1992493

/ https://leaderpost.com/sports/football/cfl/saskatchewan-roughriders/report-larry-dean-suffers-torn-achilles-at-riders-practice

/ https://www.si.com/edge/2015/04/16/rothman-sports-medicine-achilles-injuries-kobe-bryant