The University of Colorado’s Sports Medicine and Performance Center released the results of a study they did of NFL running backs and injuries and what they found is quite shocking.
For years it was thought that pro backs who record a lot of touches (both by carries and receptions) in a season are at an increased risk of being sidelined the following season with injuries.
The CU study says, “Not so fast.”
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CU found that backs with a high-carry count may be “simply be more durable and less injury-prone compared with other NFL RBs.”
So how did they get their results?
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The CU study assessed data from ESPN and team injury reports for 275 running backs over 11 seasons (2004-14), comparing their carry count in a season to how many games they missed the following year because of injury. The players were divided into two groups: Group A included a total of 212 backs who had 150-250 carries in the season of interest, and Group B included 63 backs who ran the ball more than 300 times in the season of interest.
Of the players in high-carry group, 49 percent missed at least one game due to injury the subsequent season, compared to 66 percent of players in the medium-carry group.
“You could conclude a lot of things from that, but it may just show that, potentially, those players that do carry a lot are more durable and that’s the reason they can carry and continue to do so year after year,” said Dr. Eric McCarty, an orthopedic surgeon at CU Sports Medicine and one of the researchers on the study. “It was very interesting for us to see the results, because that’s not what we expected.”
That’s likely not what anyone expected, but it’s welcomed news for NFL coaches.
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“We gonna do all day! Runnin’. Runnin’.”
— NFL (@NFL) February 3, 2017