The 2020-21 NFL preseason was hamstrung and canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc across the globe.
And for many players that was the worst thing that could’ve happened, and no I’m not speaking of just those players needing to be seen by coaches on the field for evaluation purposes of possibly making a roster.
I’m speaking from an injury standpoint and how the injured player rates were increasingly higher in 2020 than in past seasons.
There's always that day in the NFL Preseason where it seems like everyone goes down with a serious leg injury. Seems today is that day in 2020.
— G. Chorch-Trickelbank (@trickelbank) August 17, 2020
During the first four weeks of the 2020-21 NFL season, the league did a study or retrospective review of all NFL players who were placed on the injury report during the preseason and the first four weeks of the regular season from 2016-17 through the 2020-21 NFL regular seasons.
Players’ dates of injury were cross-referenced with an absence of statistics from the retrospective games for which they were ruled out, to ensure some sort of accuracy.
Injury rates were calculated per 1,000 athletic exposures. Relative risk with 95% confidence intervals compared injury rates between the two cohorts.
Results of the studies over 4 NFL seasons, show 3,025 injuries were reported.
Of the 3,025 reported, 582 (20%) occured during weeks 1-4 of the 2020-21 regular season. Whereas, 1,292 (53%) occurred during preseason weeks 1-4.
And 1,151 (38%) occurred during regular-season weeks 1-4 of NFL seasons 2016-17, 2018-19, and 2019-2020.
So the bulk of studies find that the rate of injury for NFL players during weeks 1-4 of the 2020-21 regular season was significantly higher (3 percent) than in the three previous seasons.
Players need to play and their bodies need to feel the contact and force that football is.
Going into a season cold turkey is a recipe for disaster and heavy on the injury homefront.