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69 Injury Stats

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69 Injury Stats

There are plenty of narratives out there about NFL injuries and player health. So, what I want to do is provide some statistics with minimal opinion attached to help clarify some of the misconceptions about recurrence rates and other fantasy football related topics. Some of these are in order but this is primarily a semi-random assortment of statistics related to NFL injuries and fantasy football. Enjoy!

  1. Only 2.3% of NFL games are “injury-free.” When coupled with the rule of thumb that a history of missed time due to injury is the best predictor of future missed time due to injury, the term “injury-prone” really takes another L. Being healthy is the anomaly.
  2. From 2004-2014, no RB over the age of 28 saw more than 149 carries in a single season. Athleticism (agility, muscle mass, reaction time, neural connections) begins to ever-so-slightly decline beginning in a person’s late ’20s. Now, that’s not to say NFL players become frail from a real-life perspective at that age, but at the elite level where supreme athleticism reigns, well, supreme.
  3. David Johnson turns 29 in December.
  4. BMI is a medical tool created 150 years ago intended to measure the “average” person’s healthy weight. Nowadays, it helps predict a person's risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take into account muscle mass whatsoever (NFL players are mostly muscle) and is wildly inconsistent. So, since it’s bad at actually measuring its intended purpose, imagine how bad it is at measuring any type of athletic success. It should be a minimum threshold perhaps at best.
  5. In a study of 275 RBs, there was no difference in missed games (durability) between players with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 29kg/m^2 and players with a BMI of 32kg/m^2.
  6. Hollywood Brown gained 10 lbs of muscle since the end of 2019.
  7. 21% of hamstring injuries in the NFL occur to WRs.
  8. In a study conducted on NFL athletes, 55% of players who had a dislocation of the shoulder joint ended up re-dislocating it again within three weeks of returning to action.
  9. Dalvin Cook, Tevin Coleman, and Jalen Reagor are three players who have had a shoulder subluxation/dislocation but no surgery.
  10. On a per season per and player basis, WRs account for 8% of all missed games due to injury compared to 7% for RBs.
  11. Since 2016, Julian Edelman, A.J. Green, and T.Y.Hilton have combined to miss 55 total games.
  12. From 2012-2014, WRs led the league in concussions at 30 concussions every 100 team games played.
  13. The true average return to play time for high ankle sprains is 15 days, not the commonly cited 4-6 weeks.
  14. Conversely, it does take 4-6 weeks for players to recover fully from the injury.
  15. RBs who carry the ball 300 times per season, on average, play in the NFL one season longer than RBs who see half as many carries.
  16. QBs are injured once every 341 dropbacks.
  17. Designed QB runs result in an injury once every 174 times.
  18. Scrambles result in a QB injury once every 107 times.
  19. Sacks result in a QB injury once every 75 times.
  20. QB knockdowns result in a QB injury once every 57 times.

  • Will Dissly has torn the two major tendons in the human body (Achilles/patellar).
  • The average “power rating” drop after an Achilles tendon rupture is 78% for TEs.
  • After patellar tendon ruptures, NFL players have the lowest return to play rate and the largest performance decreases.
  • 0 injuries in NFL history have ever been objectively traced back to "overcompensation" of another body part.
  • 82% of hamstring injuries are non-contact in nature.
  • In 2019, Joe Dolan, Tom Brolley, and I will host one Fantasy Points podcast per week to discuss every fantasy-relevant before waivers run.
  • 21% of hamstring injuries recur within a calendar year.
  • 34% of players who suffer a hamstring injury have a history of a previous hamstring strain.
  • Gronk retired with 80 touchdowns in 115 games. That’s 0.69 touchdowns per game. If you know what I mean.

Certainly, not all of these statistics have the context necessary to make an actionable decision, but hopefully they challenged your way of thinking about certain players.

Edwin completed his Doctorate of Physical Therapy education in 2020. His expertise is in all thing’s orthopedics, injury recovery, and he has a special interest in human performance. Edwin’s vision is to push injury advice past simple video analysis and into the realm of applying data from the medical literature to help fantasy players make informed start-sit decisions.

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