In July I wrote a blog titled, “Why My Concern for Player Safety is Much More Than Covid-19”. Within this article, I outlined my fear of injury rates significantly increasing with the return of sports throughout all professional leagues following the Covid-19 Crisis. This prediction stemmed from previous research following the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) lockouts in 2011 where negotiation between players and owners put all activities to a halt. During the lockout many believed that the rest period would prime athletes for when they returned to competition, but this was not the case. The NBA and NFL both saw significant injury spikes in ACL/Achilles ruptures throughout their shortened season but was this expected?

Yes, the increased rate of injury was expected due to the player’s intensity not being properly ramped up and additionally they did not have access to their team facilities, trainers, and staff during the lockout.

The NBA started the playoffs with nearly zero Covid cases, but many injuries did occur in the Disney’s Bubble. This is including but not limited to Ben Simmons, Jonathan Isaac, Goran

Dragic, Justise Winslow, Jaren Jackson Jr and Marvin Bagley. All of which suffered injuries that caused them to miss the rest of their season, and many of them will be missing extended time next season.

However, the alarming rate of injuries are coming from football. This year we have seen many of our top young players sidelined with serious injuries and although we hope these injuries will not hinder them in the future; similar injuries have derailed many careers in the past.

In my article I predicted that both ACL and Achilles ruptures would be significantly increased this year. Thus far there has been a record pace of 30 ACL injuries sustained. Last year there were a total of 34 ACL injuries throughout the entire season, which also included preseason games. Achilles injuries are also up; with 9 Achilles ruptures this year; nearly doubling the

average of 5 Achilles ruptures the NFL routinely encounters. Another concerning factor, not only for this year but for the future, is that many of the leagues top young players were the subject of these injuries. With this I created my 2020-2021 “All Injury Team”. The majority of these players suffered either a torn ACL or Achilles rupture; with a few additions at positions where there have been no such injuries such as Quarterback, Guard, Center and Kicker. With these positions I took liberties of inserting players who had suffered season ending injuries.

Now let me present to you my “All Injury Team”

QB- Dak Prescott(Compound Fracture of the Ankle)

RB- Saquon Barkley(ACL)

WR-Odell Beckham Jr (ACL)

WR- Courtland Sutton (ACL)

WR-Dede Westbrook (ACL)

TE- CJ Uzomah (Achilles)

TE- OJ Howard (Achilles)

T-Taylor Lewan (ACL)

G- La’el Collins (Hip Surgery)

C- Mike Pouncey (Hip Surgery)

G- Lane Taylor (ACL)

T- Zach Banner (ACL)

Overall, this offense has the opportunity to be extremely high powered. Led by Dak who was on pace to be an MVP candidate prior to his gruesome ankle injury. In the backfield, we are anchored by arguably the most versatile running back in the game with Saquon Barkley. At receiver we have the playmaker in OBJ, the big physical possession receiver in Courtland Sutton and a quality slot in Dede Westbrook who is bound to help in kick returns. The offensive line will be the biggest struggle. However, with Taylor lewan protecting the backside and Mike Pouncey providing veteran leadership, this would be one of the best offenses in the league.

DL- Soloman Thomas (ACL)

DL- Trysten Hill (ACL)

DL- Nick Bosa (ACL)

OLB- Von Miller(Peroneal Tendon Rupture)

OLB- Bruce Irvin (ACL)

ILB- Devin Bush (ACL)

LB-Lorenzo Carter (Achilles)

CB- Artie Burns (ACL)

CB- Tavon Young (ACL)

FS- Malik Hooker (Achilles)

SS- Landon Collins (Achilles)

S- Grant Delpit (Achilles)

This defense is built to get after the quarterback. Anchored by Von Miller, Nick Bosa, and Bruce Irvin. The weakness of the defense will be at corner. However, with the pass rush, the corners will have much of the pressure taken off of them. Veteran leadership at safety will also help cover up many of the corner’s limitations.

P- Michael Palardy (ACL)

K- Josh Lambo (gluteus medius Strain)

KR- Dede Westbrook (ACL)

PR- Tarik Cohen (ACL)

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