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The NFL and hamstring injuries: A common affliction
It sounds like a bad horror movie. Hamstring injuries are taking over the NFL in week four of the 2011 season, and my Oakland Raiders are no exception. Chris Johnson, Oakland's cornerback, was out of the game against the New England Patriots, due to this common sports' affliction, and Jacoby Ford(notes) is another player on the Silver and Black who has been affected by hamstring issues.
A quick glance at the NFL injury list, and you'll find quite a large number of athletes who won't be able to get out on the field due to an injured hamstring. There is some speculation that the NFL lockout may have attributed to the problem this season, with many players coming in cold and pushing themselves too far too fast, but regardless of the reason, it is surely something can affect the outcome of a game.
Oakland's head coach, Hue Jackson, says that his philosophy is to put the healthiest players out into the game, and do the best with what he has with no excuses. That also means not taking chances with a player who has a minor injury and turning it into a major one, which is what will happen doing too much too soon on an injured hamstring.
Depending on the extent of the injury, players can expect to be out for an average of two or three games before becoming healthy enough to return. Jacoby Ford suffered the injury in game one against the Broncos, and is expected to ease back in during game four.
Hamstring injuries are not a result of direct contact, but are stretch induced injuries. One of the biggest risk factors, include athletes who have previously experienced the injury, and this is especially common in NFL players.
Muscle fatigue is another cause of hamstring injury, and predisposes the muscle to subsequent injury. Decreased flexibility is another major factor, proving the importance of stretching before exercising. Athletes who practice yoga, and many NFL players now do, have a much reduced risk of this type of injury.
Perhaps more football players should follow the example set by Oakland's tight end, Kevin Boss, who was said to have picked up the habit while he was with the New York Giants. In any case, let's just hope that later in the season, the players will have warmed up and experience less of these annoying traumas that keep them off the field.
K.C. Dermody grew up in the Bay Area of California, and has been an Oakland Raiders fan from the time she could walk. She has continued her loyalty to the team through its many ups and downs over the decades, and has been privileged to meet several of her favorite players, including famed quarterback, Jim Plunkett.
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