Football is a tough sport. Injuries are a constant part of the game that can even occur on the practice field when players aren’t even giving it their all. That’s the nature of a contact sport with strong guys that can weigh in at a solid 300 pounds.
But the 2015 season was riddled with hundreds of injuries that sidelined just as many players. Experts are blaming the onslaught of injuries, many of which happened early in the season, on overuse. It’s a result of football teams training and/or playing almost year round.
Past injuries were also a hot topic. One of the biggest stories of 2015 was the NFL concussion lawsuit settlement that is now being appealed. The settlement would pay a total of $1 billion to 20,000 plaintiffs that suffered brain trauma while playing in the NFL.
Let’s check in on how players with some of the most serious injuries this season are recovering.
Ricardo Lockette’s Possible Career-Ending Neck Injury
Mid-way through the NFL season, Seattle Seahawk’s wide receiver Ricardo Lockette suffered one of the scariest injuries of the year. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Lockette said that he was extremely dazed after a hard hit and felt completely numb. He ultimately had to have neck surgery for the disc and ligament damage that he suffered. Lockette felt normal mentally after surgery, but he then began a long physical rehab process that started with just walking down a hall. It’s still uncertain where he’ll be at the beginning of the 2016 season.
Tony Romo Breaks His Collarbone Twice
The Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo suffered a broken collarbone at the start of the season, which significantly hindered the team. A hard hit led to six or seven breaks according to team owner Jerry Jones. Romo was out for seven games while he recovered. Unfortunately, his return in November was short lived. On November 26th Romo broke his collarbone again playing against the Panthers. This time it was announced he was out for the season. The 35-year old is going through the recovery process again and is hopeful he’ll return stronger than ever at the start of the 2016 season.
Reggie Bush’s Sideline ACL Tear
Reggie Bush was actually on the sidelines during the week eight game against the St. Louis Rams when he slipped on exposed concrete and tore his ACL. Just a week before the Browns’s QB Josh McCown was also injured after slipping on the concrete. Bush had to have surgery to fix his ACL, a process that will require months of physical therapy. The 10-year veteran is planning on returning in 2016. In the meantime he has started a lawsuit against the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission.
Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire’s Broken Ankle
Within the first few weeks of the college football season, five of Notre Dame’s starters were among the 185 FSB players that were already out for the season due to injuries. Star quarterback Malik Zaire suffered a broken ankle in game two. Zaire had surgery soon after, but his season was done. Over the last few months he has continued to make progress and was even spotted throwing passes during practice last December.
Fractured Neck Sidelined Wide Receiver Mike Williams
Clemson’s season started off shaky when star wide receiver Mike Williams suffered a fractured neck in the first quarter of game one. Williams crashed into the goal post during an attempted touchdown reception. It ended the season for Williams, but fortunately doctors say that it isn’t a career ender. While he didn’t have to undergo surgery, Williams did have to wear a neck brace for an extended period to help the fracture heal. He’s expected to make a full recovery and continue playing next year. Luckily for Clemson, the loss of their number one receiver didn’t stop them from making it to the college football championship.
Syracuse’s Terrel Hunt Tears His Achilles Tendon
Syracuse isn’t a huge championship contender, but they do tend to shake things up during the season. All of that came to a screeching halt in their very first game of the 2015 season. Quarterback Terrel Hunt, arguably the team’s best player, suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Hunt underwent surgery soon afterward, and the school has already sent an appeal to the NCAA asking that they allow him to play a sixth season. That’s a good sign that he should make a full recovery.
Neck injuries, torn knee ligaments and torn Achilles tendons were regular season ender in 2015. It’s a sign that, along with head injuries from collisions, wear and tear on players’ bodies is becoming a serious concern. And it’s a concern that’s beginning much earlier than expected in the season.