Sport injuries have been common among athletes across the globe for decades and have the potential to disrupt athletic careers, performance, and psyche. Many health professionals and organizations have undertaken injury mitigation strategies to prevent sport injuries through protective equipment, training protocols, and a host of other evidence-based practices. Many of these specialized training methods were disrupted due to protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This research examines the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to the prevalence of athletic injuries in the National Football League (NFL).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL teams and athletes across all levels of sport were reported to have reduced training in preparation for their seasons due to protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This study compares the prevalence of injury during the 2018, 2019, and 2020 NFL seasons, with the aim to determine the potential causes of the differences in injury prevalence.
Official injury reports from each team were counted during the 17-week regular season of each year (2018, 2019, and 2020). The data were analyzed using an unpaired t test to compare the injury prevalence between each of the three seasons.
The 2018 season produced a total of 1561 injuries and a mean of 48.8 injuries per team. The 2019 season produced a total of 1897 injuries and a mean of 59.3 injuries per team, while the 2020 season produced a total of 2484 injuries and a mean of 77.6 injuries per team. An unpaired t test was performed using the data to compare the mean number of injuries per team during each of the seasons. Comparison of the 2020 season against the 2019 season showed a statistically significant difference (P
Although the 2019 and 2018 seasons showed a statistically significant difference (P=.03), this difference is not as large when we compare the 2020 seasons versus the 2019 (P
COVID-19, sport, injury, prevalence, cause, data, statistics, pain, training, practice, physiology, adaptation
Puga TB, Schafer J, Agbedanu PN, Treffer K. COVID-19 Return to Sport: NFL Injury Prevalence Analysis. JMIRx Med. 2022; 3(2). doi: 10.2196/35862.