Fans of the NFL and NBA were shocked watching stars like Dak Prescott, Christian McCaffery, Saquon Barkley, Jamal Murray, and Klay Thompson all suffered season ending injuries. This was largely due to the circumstances of COVID-19 preventing players from training in environments familiar to them. According to “nflfastR play by play data”, the 2020 NFL season saw a 14% increase in injuries over the average rate in the last decade. Additionally, 100 more injuries occurred in 2020 than the average number in 2014-2019. The increase in injuries also carried over to 2021, one example being the NBA. The average number of players sidelined per game due to injury in the 2021 NBA season was 5.1, which is the highest number ever since this statistic was tracked back in 2009.
An increase in injuries is also prevalent at RHS this year. According to RHS trainer Nikitas (Nik) Nicholaides, the “main cause of injuries is lack of preparation.” He adds that “COVID has had an impact on how many people can go to the weight room, how many people can train.” The inactivity of kids leading up to their seasons has played a large role in the increased injury rate this year. Nik went on to mention that “this year we are seeing a lot of overuse injuries, a lot of tendonitis … and COVID is one of the big reasons why.” Coaches expect their athletes to come off of shortened and less intense training last year, and perform at an intensity that is simply too high. One thing trainers have done recently to combat injuries is use the training technique called the Reflexive Performance Reset. RPR is a “acupressure technique … that is, a way to hack your nervous system so that your muscles work properly” says Nik. Acupressure is a type of massage used to relieve pain and muscle tension. Although one may not assume this is the case, the rippling effects of COVID-19 are still felt in the world of sports, as evident by the increased number of injuries.
Graphic: Talia Hutchinson