Injuries to Watch Out For This Football Season

Baseball might be considered America’s pastime, but football is actually the most watched sport in the United States. Every Sunday fans wear their lucky jersey, tailgate, scream at the TV or argue with a ref over a bad call in hopes that their favorite team will make it to the Super Bowl. Similarly, for some parents, Thursdays and Fridays are spent at the school football field cheering on their favorite player. In this blog we will be discussing the most common football injuries among professional and amateur athletes and ways to help prevent them.

Instead of breaking down the injuries by body part, we’re going to break it down by field position since not every player is prone to the same type of injury.


Arguably the most important position on the field. The quarterback is responsible for the ball, while the line is responsible for protection. But as we know, things don’t always going according to plan. The most common injuries for a quarterback are found in the shoulder. These can be caused from poor mechanics from repetitive motions while throwing (generally tendonitis), or from falling on the shoulder when being tackled (sprains, dislocations, tears etc.). Other notable but less common injuries occur in the elbow and muscle groups of the upper extremity, generally for the same reasons as shoulder injuries.


Depending on the position, offensive players are prone to different injuries. We’ll break this section into linemen and ball carriers.

Offensive linemen are tasked with keeping the quarterback safe, or at least safe long enough to get rid of the ball. They are also responsible for creating slots for potential running plays. Knowing their stance and their mission to keep others from getting through, it’s no surprise that ankle injuries are at the top of the list for these players. However, they tend to avoid further injuries for the most part and experience much fewer than their defensive counterpart.

Ball handlers are at a higher risk of injury since their positions require a lot of movement and a high potential for pain from regularly being tackled. In fact, running backs are found to sustain the most injuries of any player on the field.  Both running backs and wide receivers are likely to sustain ankle and knee injuries, but RBs are also more prone to concussions. While tight ends can be ball carriers, they are less likely to be injured since their responsibilities are also shared with the offensive line.


Any football fan knows that defensive positions are designed to hurt whoever has the ball. Because of the beating these players take, they are more likely to sustain a wider variety of injuries than those who have simpler tasks.

Linebackers, cornerbacks and defensive tackles all are prone to similar kinds of injuries, including pain in the shoulders, knees, ankles and head from making tackles, landing incorrectly and changing directions while chasing after an opponent. While collar bone fractures tend to be more common in offensive players, defensive linemen are also prone to clavicle breaks. When it comes to head injuries, cornerbacks and linebackers are two of the most likely players to suffer concussions during the football season.  

Special Teams:

Let’s be honest, special teams are some of the least likely players to be injured on the football field. For a kicker, besides tackle injuries (leading to roughing the kicker penalties), the most likely injuries sustained are things like a groin pull or ankle injury. Long snappers can sustain some shoulder injuries, which makes sense based on their sole job on the field. However, it is possible for a snapper to get hit when they’re not anticipating, which could lead to a nasty neck injury.


No matter the position, injury prevention is all about basics, so these rules apply to everyone.

  • Do your workouts. Whether you play on your high school team, in college, the NFL or in your back yard, the best way to be ready for football season is to condition your body!
  • Like any physical activity, warming up your body and stretching is essential to avoiding in jury. You can check out more about our recommendations for warming up here.
  • Proper equipment use is also an essential step to avoiding football injuries. Be sure you helmet and pads fit you properly; not too big, not too small. Cleats that are not worn down will also help to avoid some foot and ankle injuries.
  • Education. Another great way to prevent injury as a player is to understand what type of injuries are common for your position and how they occur. Knowing what to look out for will help avoid the injury altogether. Simply saying “don’t get tackled” is not realistic. But preparing yourself for “when you get tackled, do xyz…” can go a long way.
  • Most importantly, if you think you might be injured or if something doesn’t feel right, stop playing and connect with a parent, coach or athletic trainer right away! Sometimes severe injuries are easily preventable by resting after a minor one.

For other sport related injuries in teens, check out our blog Injuries in Active Teens and How to Prevent Them


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