It’s never good when a player suffers an injury, but it’s even worse when that player hurts his knee and has to sit out the rest of the season. Not only does that player have to sit out the rest of the year, but their future in the NFL also comes into question after the injury.
This season there were 62 recorded torn ACLs for the entirety of the 2013 NFL season. Unfortunately the Rams had two players on that list, and it just happened to be two of their key top players. Those two players being quarterback Sam Bradford and left tackle free agent pick-up Jake Long.
Sam Bradford was in the middle of a career year before tearing his ACL in week seven against the Panthers in the fourth quarter and is expected to return before the the 2014 season. How he returns however is still in question. Will he have an Adrian Peterson-like return or be more like RGIII.
Jake Long’s status on the other hand is even more in question as he tore his ACL in the second to last week against the Buccaneers. It is uncertain if Long will be ready for the beginning of the 2014 season, but many anticipate that he will miss the beginning weeks of the year.
The NFL has put an emphasis on player safety specifically in the head region. With that said, players try to avoid the head as much as possible and therefore have been going for the lower body which affects the knees.
62 ACL injuries is significantly up from last year’s 37. Each team had an average of about two players who tore ACLs, and the Rams were right there with the average.
The NFL is going to look at this throughout the offseason and hopefully put some rules in place to get this number down, because 62 is outrageous. With that number not only are you just putting the players themselves at risk, but also their careers.
The torn ACL is one of the most dreaded and gruesome injury in sports, and its impact is often more long-term and more significant than concussions. The NFL needs to find a solution to the problem and soon.