Say it ain’t so Poe!

Andrew Charniga

Figure 1. A company of a consummate confluence of the confounded, confused; or, just clueless?

Edgar Allan Poe may well have been America’s greatest writer. Poe made a significant contribution to the science of cryptography; and, invented the modern detective story. Indeed his detective Dupin inspired the character made famous by Arthur Conan Dole who acknowledged the literary theft: Sherlock Holmes.

A Raven is the mascot of the Baltimore Ravens NFL; a nod to the great Edgar’s (who passed in Baltimore) famous poem entitled “The Raven”. So, it is rather disconcerting no one is spared the NFL’s injury epidemic; not even a guy prancing about in a silly bird suit:

“Usually in the preseason, teams are worried about whether their players get through healthy. On Saturday night, however, one member of the Ravens team went down, and it wasn’t someone on the roster. During halftime, the Ravens let two youth football teams play in front of the crowd. Poe, the Ravens mascot, also participated, but things didn’t go quite as planned. Poe was tackled by a kid in full uniform, but the mascot injured his left knee on the play and needed to be carted off the field.”

Considerable expostulation has been devoted the profoundly negative influence various perfidious purveyors of ‘constrained volatility’ have subject high school, collegiate and professional athletes in the USA: athletic trainers {AT}, physical therapists {PT}, personal trainers {PTs}, certified strength and conditioning coaches (CS&C), doctors {MD}, academics {PhDs} (see Charniga, It is within the realms of the aforesaid purveyors; that the groundwork is laid for a pervasive deluge of aberrant injury in American sport.

Various aspects of medical research in the west as well as commonalities of beliefs/practices of athletic training, rehabilitation, strength and conditioning, personal trainers and so forth; secondary education/certification programs, training, conditioning, rehabilitation after injury; even the so-called “pre – hab procedures to ‘prepare for injury’ have been called into serious question, i.e., laid at the doorsteps of the aforesaid purveyors of constrained volatility; all, in varying degrees, part and parcel; responsible an emergence of the injury epidemic in American athletics. The following quote states succinctly, a philosophical premise; in effect, an antithesis of that of the purveyors of constrained volatility : 

“If anti – fragility is the property of all those natural (and complex) systems that have survived, depriving these systems of volatility, randomness, and stressors will harm them. They will weaken, die, or blow up. We have been fragilizing the economy, our health, political life, education, almost everything … by suppressing randomness and volatility.” Nasim Taleb, Anti fragile

Perfidious purveyors of “constrained volatility” (Nasdem Taleb) lay the groundwork for injury in dynamic activities by proscribing exercise techniques to limit, to restrict, what should be unconstrained movements; and, as a consequence; diminish an athlete’s ability to dissipate or otherwise re – distribute mechanical energy while running, landing, cutting (turning). Irrational exercise techniques along with taping and bracing; proscription of movement patterns and/or irrational coordination of muscles; suppress nature’s inherent reactive protective mechanisms. And as such, inhibit or otherwise suppress the body’s reactive – protective natural reflexes:  

… reflexes makes it impossible for the central nervous system to predict or prescribe patterns of forces and displacements by all muscles taking part in natural movements.” Latash, Zatsiorsky, 2016

Proscribed movement patterns; combined with restrictive taping and bracing of joints artificially impose constraints: “instructional and intentional” (Latash, Zatsiorsky, 2016); which in turn produce internal resistance to ordinary, relatively low torque exercises; such that the unintended consequences are a mystery to coaches, dispensers of medicinals  and, athletes alike:

“…. it just feels like something is up, too many guys going down when they’re not even touching anybody. P. Carroll, 2022

Indeed a ‘repetitive redundancy’ of various false narratives, much of it for sale; and, especially questionable research; can be said to have created a state of a ‘normalization of insanity’ (see Charniga, “New wave insanity”, 

A state of ‘normalized insanity’ is to be distinguished, indeed, differentiated from clinical insanity by its source: the un – institutionalized (as in mental institution) realm of academia, the certified experts; those with all the initials; who purport to know what they don’t know; whereas the actual institutionalized, are unlikely to suffer such delusions:

“When the sun goes down, the racks go up, the lights turn on, and the freaks come out.” U of Arkansas S&C coach

Figure 2. Training for dynamic sport; especially dynamic sports {football} in a collegiate setting where skill and inter-muscular coordination are important components of success in such a manner as “to bring out the freaks” is an institution, for the as yet, un- institutionalized. 

The physical training of military personnel has a proven deleterious track record for athletes in dynamic sports; not to mention the military itself:

“Non-battle injuries resulted in more medical air evacuations from Afghanistan and Iraq than battle injuries,” explained Keith Hauret, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Army Public Health Command, or USAPHC. “The leading causes of these non-battle injuries were physical training and sports.” {Veronique Hauschild, 2015}

Nonetheless, undeterred, with little or no effort at critical thinking; universities and professional teams continue to seek out military ‘experts’ (see figures 1 & 3) to prepare elite athletes for the rigors of football where skill and speed expressed in brief bursts of power; have nothing in common with battlefields.

Figure 3. Preparing football players for the dynamics, the complexities of the field from the perch of purveyors of the “phony tough and crazy brave” (quote from the movie Full Metal Jacket). 

The fact that universities and professional teams hire the “phony tough and the crazy brave” to train and/or otherwise condition collegiate (see figures 1 & 3) and professional athletes alike; is not only alive and well (see Charniga, “Why Safe is Unsafe”, it confirms the adage of people with more money than brains. 

Clueless in Seattle

{or, the otherwise, hopelessly hapless}

A cause and effect approach to problem solving is at best ineffective; and, at its worst an exercise of hopeless stumbling in the dark; if, one excludes, that is to say, excuses oneself from at least being part of; if not at, a ground zero source of the problem.

For instance, consider the following unintelligible anti – sense:

“Training methods in the NFL are designed to lower and prevent injuries, including ACL tear prevention,” Tehrany said. “I believe that we are looking at a new norm where we need to expect to see and treat more injuries because of the ever-growing strength and speed of the players,” Tehrany said. “Unfortunately, we are seeing this in children as well.” Dr. Armin Tehrany

How is it “children”  suffer serious NFL injuries like the dreaded ACL tear if the injured of the “new normal” fall victims to stronger and faster athletes? Are children stronger and faster too? If NFL training methods are designed to lower and prevent catastrophic injuries like ACL tears, Achilles rupture, Lisfranc, Jones, foot pedal and tibial plateau fractures; why so many? And, more to the point: when and how did this injury deluge start? 

Obtuse statements like the one above; whether conscious or unconscious; are designed to deflect serious scrutiny aware from the actual reasons for the actual ‘why’  of the new normal. A representative, ‘unintelligible anti – sense’ which serves to deflect serious scrutiny, culpability from those entrusted with the training and care of the athletes; can be encapsulated in a single word: extraneous. Conveniently un – verifiable, extraneous factors are the scapegoats. They lie outside the academic/medical/training and conditioning realms of knowledge, methods and practices; which are inextricably woven into the conditioning and care of athletes who suffer serious sport injury. Extraneous factors often cited include:  shoes, turf field surface, high arches, poor blood supply, perceived imbalances of strength, and so forth.

Another for instance. Consider the following:

  “…every now and then, it just feels like something is up, too many guys going down when they’re not even touching anybody.” P. Carroll, 2022

The upshot of the coach’s assertion “something is up”, in effect, a ‘new normal’, is a statement of historical fact: so many players injured yet untouched, is not normal; and, indeed, it is a relatively recent phenomena. The coach quoted above proceeded to blame an extraneous factor: artificial turf as the reason “something is up”; because “too many guys going down when they’re not even touching anybody.” That is to say, the amalgamation of coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, academics, MDs, i.e., the perfidious purveyors of constrained volatility involved in the training and care of athletes; are collectively doing everything right; injuries are caused by the surface of the playing field, an extraneous factor. In other words, a factor outside the control of the various experts in the training of the athletes (see reference to ‘Ivan the terrible’, Charniga, A., “New wave insanity”,  

But then again, maybe it isn’t the artificial turf after all:

“It means we’re unbreakable. Like to me, it means, we’ll play you anywhere. We’ll play you on grass. We’ll play you on turf. We’ll go to a landfill. It doesn’t matter.” Dan Campbell, HBO “Hard Knocks” docu series

Play on a landfill???? There you have it.  Do you hear that clueless in Seattle? The playing surface is not a problem!

For instance, hamstring injury, a ubiquitous malady in field sports, basketball and other; but not weightlifting; remains an omnipresent, intractable Rubik’s cube; despite the persistent efforts of hordes from the medical, academic, athletic training, conditioning coaching and physical therapeutic realms; many of whom have turned in lock – step to simplistic exercise protocols with made-up names like ‘Nordic’. These efforts have included an emphasis on commercial testing and measurement products to confront the intractable cube; with decidedly less than dubious results:

“Isokinetic moment ratios of the hamstrings (H) and quadriceps (Q) muscle groups, and their implication in muscle imbalance, have been investigated for more than three decades. The conventional concentric H/Q ratio with its normative value of 0.6 has been at the forefront of the discussion.” Coombs, et al 2002

The incidence of hamstring injury is 0.81 per 1000 hours, representing 10% of all injuries in field-based team sports. Injury  incidence increased with older athlete age, in match scenarios (compared with training) and on grass surface (compared with artificial turf). Incidence was not moderated by body mass or stature, and importantly, has not changed over the last 30 years. Our findings suggest that more work is needed to reduce the incidence of hamstring injury in field-based team sports. Maniar, N. et al Maniar N, et al. Br J Sports Med 2022

There have been decades (50 years????) of research with expensive isokinetic testing machines {a Humac Norm testing machine can cost upwards of $50,000.00} and no doubt; hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to fund untold reams of research articles which have produced a mountain of numbers; to prove a special hamstring to quadriceps strength ratio of .6/1.0 is needed for athletes to potentially avoid hamstring injury; not to mention revolving doors of special exercise protocols and special training devices.

And, there you have it: “incidence has not changed over the last 30 years“. (see Charniga,

“two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe”, Albert Einstein

Undeterred by a complete absence of common sense; here are  some choice nuggets from a pre – institutionalized crowd:

What are you going to do when you get tired”?


“It provided insight (log carrying) into areas they (Atlanta Falcons players) need to work on to pursue their potential.”(PhD, working with Falcons);

To be ready for? The log carry event of  the fourth quarter of professional football!;

“Its ok to tell the man next to you I love you”. Detroit Lions coach. HBO hard knocks.

No it isn’t. For heaven’s sake, haven’t these people heard of the monkey pox?

“if you gonna piss like a puppy stay on the porch”. “We are what we are”. Detroit Lions coach. HBO hard knocks.


“We have a saying in the military slow is smooth, smooth is fast .” MSU football training video

Smooth is not fast. Fast is fast.

/“You have to have that aggressive mentality to score points” (in the NFL);

“Before I lift I shout Fung Song – Relax. I tell myself to relax so that I can lift the weights relaxing.” ZHOU Lulu, 2012 Olympic weightlifting champion +75 kg (CHN)

“In baseball, we’ve developed very good preventive exercises.” Christopher Ahmad, MD, Columbia University:

“Philadelphia Phillies reliever David Robertson is out of the division series against the Atlanta Braves with a celebration injury. Manager Rob Thomson said he strained his right calf jumping up in the air when Bryce Harper homered”.

“If a sport involves your knees—soccer, for example—basic exercises that strengthen the hamstring, quadriceps, and hip muscles, plus agility training and learning how to land, will help prevent dreaded injuries such as ACL tears.”  Christopher Ahmad, MD, Columbia University:

ACL injuries continue to be extremely common in the young athlete population, increasing 2.3% per year, with a current annual incidence of 200,000 injuries. Most of these occur in the high school/college age group.” US Pharmacist

“In the last decade, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury rate has doubled in the young competitive population involved in pivoting sports “. (Weitz et al., 2020).

Euphemisms obscure underlying issues:

/ the collapsible injury tent {see Charniga, “Subliminal delusion and Merriam Webster”,} is now the ‘medical tent

Players now enter tent on the sideline behind each teams’ bench for ‘medical checkups’ not for private examination of pervasive injury suffered on the field: just say “ahhh”; 

/ ‘a pain management shot’;

In actuality: a toradol lidocaine intramuscular injection. Feel no pain, fear no pain!;

/ we have challenges going forward;

Pervasive non – contact lower extremity injury is not a problem, it is a ‘challenge’.

/ love & adversity

The ubiquity of/and potential hazards, of so much ‘love’ in football (see quote above and the Monkey pox) means it must go hand -in – hand with ‘adversity’:

“Several Texas high school football players were hospitalized after they were forced to perform up to 400 push-ups in an hour as punishment by their coach, according to local reports. At least eight students were hospitalized after the extreme workout, according to the paper.”

‘knowledge without knowing’

Despite; or better yet, because of decades university research; numerous training and measurement machines/devices developed in the private sector for use in assessment and prevention; sport injuries continue to rise. A prime example of ‘knowledge without knowing’; a physician’s claim the medical community develops injury prophylactic; but, it is the fault of the athletes for the injury epidemic:  

“I’ve seen athletes get bigger, stronger, and throw harder than ever before. Though we as physicians come up with ways to prevent injuries, we’re competing with the athlete’s growth and desire to push physical capacity to the limits.” Christopher Ahmad, MD, Columbia University

Just below the surface

A brief comparison of some incidences of lower extremity injury relative to various sport specific surfaces:

Weightlifting {males & females}: very low injury rate; surface wood: – Incidence of Achilles rupture virtually nil; hamstring and ankle injury rare; knee injury very low.

Basketball (male & female): high injury rate; knee, ankle, hamstring, foot: surfaces –  wood; even feet: “Ball re-injured his left ankle when he stepped on a fan’s foot with 1 minute, 34 seconds left in the game.”

Football: very high injury rate: surfaces – grass; artificial turf; high rate of Achilles rupture;{ even two NFL head coaches tear Achilles in 2017- 2018 season}; knee, ankle, hamstring, tibial plateau, foot (Jones, Lisfranc, foot pedal, plantar fascia tear);

“The NFL Players Association is filing a grievance against the NFL and the Carolina Panthers for the hardness of the artificial turf at Bank of America Stadium in the Dec. 24 game between the Panthers and Detroit Lions, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Sunday.”


Female soccer:  surfaces grass & artificial turf; relatively high injury rate of knee {ACL} tear, ankle, hamstring;

Maybe it is the footwear?:

Very high injury incidence of injury in football & high incidence of injury  in basketball sports: Specialized footwear developed by huge multi – nationals for these athletes; with hi tech computer design: yet, high rate of non – contact lower extremity injury with specialized, sport specific, hi tech designed footwear;

Weightlifting {males & females}: non – specialized design other than raised heel of composite, wood or riveted leather: very low injury rate – Achilles rupture virtually nil, hamstring and ankle injury rare; knee injury very low (see figure 5);

Figure 4. Female weightlifter with heel raised, plastic/rubber soled shoes: slipping, on a wooden platform with 117 kg barbell; uninjured. Charniga photo

Female soccer: specialized footwear developed by huge multi – nationals for these athletes; with hi tech computer design; yet, relatively ubiquitous rate of injury of knee {ACL tear}; ankle, hamstring.

Despite, or because of, a proliferation of tech toys for injury mitigation?

/ a rather extensive array of commercial products are available to ascertain susceptibility to injury; inspired by questionable research claims. They are purported to test for imbalances to mitigate injury in high injury sports such as football, basketball, girls soccer. Many of these expensive, hi tech products are deployed at university and professional settings for evaluation and therapeutics in sports with high incidence of injury: football, basketball; girls soccer, and so forth; with no reliable effectiveness (see figure 5): “Incidence {of hamstring injury}, has not changed over the last 30 years.” Manier, et al, 2022 ;

Figure 5. Typical evaluation/tech-toy commonly found at university and professional facilities for testing strength and developing muscles of the thigh. Chronically administered to determine perceived ‘optimal’ ratio of 100% quadriceps to 60% hamstring muscle strength; especially in sports with high rate of hamstring and knee injury: football, basketball, girls soccer. Ratio of quadriceps to hamstring strength of elite weightlifters is around 4.3:1 (A.N. Vorobeyev, 1988); with low rate of knee and very low rate of hamstring injury in the ultra – intense sport of weightlifting.

/ zero availability of specialized products; irregardless research claims; designed to test for imbalances and mitigate injury susceptibility for the low injury, ultra – intensity sport of weightlifting.

What is it about American collegiate sport that makes it so dangerous to the health of collegiate athletes as to justify so many medicinals?:

 “We are a Team of 30 Athletic Trainers, 5 Primary Care Team Physicians, 4 Orthopedic Surgeons and 2 Sports Medicine Fellows.”

  • 2 Physical Therapists assist with in house care
  • Our Sports Medicine staff is responsible for the day to day medication including collaboration with other areas of Sports Performance Team”.

With so many medicinals implementing hands on care; why is it athletes who emerge these collegiate fortresses of caring are so fragile at the professional level?:

“Hurst suffered a torn biceps in Friday’s practice and will need surgery. Hurst suffered the injury on a jet sweep run in which he simply reached out and grabbed at the runner as his arm gave out, according to coach Kyle Shanahan.“We’ll see after surgery,” Shanahan said. “Usually that’s how biceps work out, but we don’t know for sure.“

Figures 6. Proof positive; distance and geography are no barrier to the free movement of ignorance. Any one for Chinese training? Hands on?  Beware the Monkey pox!

Does a fine line separate science & sanity?

According to an NFL doctor of initials: The defender, Jaguars defensive lineman Arden Key, tackled Mahomes by rolling down his body and into his ankle.” NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said the league acknowledges that kind of “hip-drop” tackle is associated with ankle and leg injuries. That type of tackle is not illegal, but it could be in the future.”

It is rather common/easy for a tackler to losen his grasp; and in the process ‘slide/roll down’ the offensive player’s body while struggling to hold onto an offensive player; who is likewise struggling to escape. So, a doctor of initials concocted a phony circumstance to divert blame for the quarterback’s injury; away from the purveyors of constrained volatility. It is a way of obscuring the actual cause – effect relationship between the falling athlete’s injury and his compromised compliance, i.e., inhibited mobility of lower extremities; history & aftermath (therapeutics administered) of prior injury; joints artificially restricted by taping (external resistance) and internal resistance from muscle/tendon/ligament stiffening cultivated by athletic training, unsuitable  therapy room and strength & conditioning exercises along with artificially imposed constraint of free movement.     

‘The more things are the same, the more they stay the same’

‘What is to be done; dumb, dumber & dumbest in Denver?’

The following quotation comes from  the essay: “Why? So many flies keep dropping in the NFL barbeque”, Charniga, A.,

“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?”

Now consider this in 2023:

As of 01/30/2023 the Denver Broncos reported the following injuries and consequences:

Knee (ACL) -5; Knee – 4; Ankle – 3; Foot – 1; Hamstring – 6. Of the reported injuries, 21 were designated IR (injured reserve) with another 8 questionable for the start of training camp. Nine knee injuries? Am I still missing something here?

Yet: “…a renowned expert in his field, joined the Broncos in 2018.

How does one go about becoming a renowned expert? Perhaps nine (9) knee injuries and six (6) hamstring injuries is normal; especially when the team has: the ACL prevention program and the ACL return to sport protocols at their disposal.

Table 1. List of injuries in the NFL by date reported.


Bel Kn.







































































































Bel. Kn.: below the knee; Knee – knee injuries; Total of injuries from knee down; IR – designated injured reserve; Quest. – to play or late season to be ready for training camp; ACH – Achilles injury; Ham – Hamstring injury.

It has been pointed out in a previous essay (Charniga, A., “Why? So many flies keep dropping in the NFL’s barbeque”) the figures in the table are of reported injuries; but, are in fact, probably low estimates of the actual magnitude of the problem.

For instance, there is convexity in reporting semantics. Two athletes suffer ankle injuries from being tackled or falling with one leg folded backwards with foot turned out (eversion); very much like a hurdler curls the trail leg over the hurdles. Many times the injury is designated a high ankle sprain. The ubiquity of high ankle sprains gave rise to a new surgery, called the tight rope procedure; to address this specific challenge.  However, in some cases there is a fracture of the non – weight bearing fibula. And, this injury could be listed as a ‘leg’ injury. The circumstances of both injuries are virtual identical. But, A “leg” injury covers a lot of territory from below hip to foot. When in fact, the actual problem is located below knee.  So, is it an ankle or a leg injury? Why the convexity?

Compare the figures in table 1 with the last year’s. The hamstring and Achilles injuries peak figures were 44 and 25, respectively. This season’s figures are 45 and 22, respectively. Quite close. The range of 4 – 10 Achilles injuries in a single NFL season raised eyebrows; not too long ago (Charniga, A., Now 2 – 5 times that number of Achilles is normal. And, let’s not forget 50 year’s of research of the hamstring conundrum. This season’s count of (at least) 45 hamstring injuries is ‘normal’ as well. What happened to all those guys who injury proofed hamstrings with their nordic curls?  


There is nothing wrong with; nor, intrinsically hazardous about the game of football. At least, not until all these people with initials, certifications and/or other highly questionable credentials arrived on the scene; with questionable input to decide for the athlete; how the human body should work. Suddenly, seemingly inexplicable, players are falling right and left; just running about; untouched by other players.

At the end of the day there is only one logical, all encompassing cause and effect of so many ‘normal’ injuries; especially the non – contact lower extremity variety: the more people involved in the hands on training and care of the athletes, in particular the many who don’t know what they do know, let alone that they don’t know what they don’t know; the greater the likelihood of a high rate of aberrant injury; ‘new normals’. 



/ Maniar, N. et al Maniar N, et al. Br J Sports Med 2022;0:1–9. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2021-104936

/ Coombs, R., Garbutt, G. “Developments in the Use of the Hamstring/Quadriceps Ratio for the Assessment of Muscle Balance”. J Sports Sci Med. 2002 Sep;1 (3):56-62 Published online 2002 Sep PMCID: PMC3967430

/ Charniga, A., Why? So many flies keep dropping in the NFL’s barbeque”.

/ Charniga, A., “Hamstring injury in sport”,

/ Charniga, A., “Hamstring prophylaxis fallacies”,

/ Charniga, A., “It is all connected” I-III;

/ Charniga, A., “Reverse engineering injury mechanism: Achilles tendon ruptures and the NFL”,

/ Charniga, A., “Achilles tendon ruptures and the NFL”, Practical solutions to the problem of Achilles tendon rupture and the proliferation of injuries to the lower extremities of football players,

/ Charniga, A., “There is no system” I-VI;

/ Charniga, A., “New wave insanity”,

/ Charniga, A., “Why Safe is Unsafe”,