Discovery Project

Introduction

Lately, there has been plenty of noise on social media, particularly on Twitter and Instagram, surrounding football injuries happening at the college and professional levels. Football fans and experts have discussed the causes of these injuries, ranging from the type of playing field to accusing football players of playing “dirty” as well as overcoming injuries. The wide range of injuries have left football fans and experts, as well as players, wondering how the game can be played as safely as possible.

Player’s Perspective

Recently, NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season ending Achilles tear. The topic revolving around Rodgers’ injury was that football fans were quick to point out that the injury occurred a playing field made out of artificial turf. Very few fans blamed the injury on the opponent that tackled Rodgers on the play where he got hurt. A majority of the discussion concluded that artificial turf was to blame.

Harrison Glaser, a sports writer for the New York Jets, posted a video clip on September 13 via Twitter of Rodgers’ teammate, Tyler Conklin at a press conference. At the press conference, Conklin said that he would much rather play football on grass than on artificial turf.

One unique perspective I got from this press conference was how strongly Conklin opposed playing on turf and heavily favoring playing on grass. Players like Conklin, are the ones experiencing playing on the two different playing fields and they provide the ultimate perspective. Conklin pointed out that from his perspective, playing on turf has a negative impact on his body and his body feels much “tighter” playing on turf as opposed to playing on grass. Players are not just suggesting that football should only be played on grass, but they are also making a push that all football games are to be played on grass.

Challenges to Recovery

From Fox Sports’ “Undisputed,” a sports debate show, former NFL player Richard Sherman spoke on September 12 about the challenges a football player faces when suffering a significant injury in a video clip that was posted on Undisputed’s Instagram page.

Former NFL player Richard Sherman shares his thoughts on the Aaron Rodgers Injury

As Richard Sherman discussed his thoughts on Aaron Rodgers’ injury, one point that Sherman made was the mental toll an injury can take on a football player, let alone anybody. In his football career, Sherman also had a similar injury to Rodgers; it was an Achilles rupture. According to Sherman’s perspective, as much as it physically can hurt, the mental hurdle to overcome the injury is the biggest challenge. When you think about these significant injuries, there is a ton of treatment, physical therapy and restrictions to daily activities that also factor into an athlete’s road back to recovery.

Data

A sports medicine physician professional has collected data on significant injuries of NFL players from this current season.

According to Doctor Jesse Morse, a doctor of medicine, his data, posted on September 20 via Twitter, shows that six of the seven injuries occurred on artificial turf. Morse offered a perspective of turf injuries by simply backing up the players’ plead to play on grass with data showing a majority of significant injuries occurred playing on artificial turf. Since football is a violent game and injuries are bound to occur, I think that this small sample of data is more than enough to conclude that players are more vulnerable to injuries playing on artificial turf as opposed to playing on natural grass.

Collisions

Recently, in a college football game between University of Colorado and Colorado State, Henry Blackburn (Colorado State) made a controversial play on Travis Hunter (University of Colorado) that caused Hunter to be taken to the hospital for an injury. A YouTube sports entertainer, Wendell Gowie posted a video on September 19 via Twitter, discussing the controversial play.

One unique takeaway I thought of regarding Hunter’s injury was where football fans placed the cause of the injury. Football fans on social media were outraged at Blackburn, going as far as sending Blackburn and his family death threats. As Gowie gave his insight on the matter, Gowie pointed out that the NCAA also deserved some blame for not enforcing the rules that could have prevented the collision from happening in the first place. There was a gap missing where fans did not express their outrage toward the NCAA and instead they immediately held Blackburn responsible for doing his job.

Coach’s Perspective

Ari Meirov, a sports reporter for “The 33rd Team” posted a video clip on September 19 via Twitter, of University of Colorado head coach Deion Sanders speaking at a press conference and addressing Henry Blackburn.

One unique takeaway from this clip is that Sanders voluntarily begun his press conference by addressing the death threats that Blackburn and his family were receiving on social media. Sanders addressed Blackburn as not just an student-athlete, but as a human being by showing nothing but mercy to Blackburn despite Blackburn directly causing one of his players to be injured. Sanders’ perspective was beyond the game of football and he made it clear that the death threats were crossing the line and nobody deserves to receive death threats over a game.

Conclusion

As I have presented in this post, there are many different angles that football fans, players, coaches and experts have taken when reacting to an injury. Some point out the playing field as a direct relation to causing injuries. In some specific cases, fans directly name a player in particular that caused an injury, leading to folks with larger social media platforms to step in and defend the player. Others view the injuries just simply as a freak accident. Everyone aims their reactions to injuries differently.