According to the National Association of Football is the nation's leading cause of school sports injuries, and it is associated with the highest number of cervical spine injuries of any sport. From passing to running to catching to tackling, nearly every move in football has the potential for causing some kind of injury, either cumulative (from overuse) or acute (from a sudden impact). Our orthopedic surgeons and specialists, athletic trainers, and physical and occupational therapists at Houston Methodist offer world-class diagnoses and treatments to help everyone from student athletes to weekend warriors and elite professionals overcome their injury and get back on the field. This is also why the Houston Texans, Rice Athletics and high school teams across the city turn to the sports injury specialists of Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine when their football players are sidelined by injury.

Common Football Injuries
Football is a contact sport that can result in a wide range of injuries. Below are some of the areas of the body and the specific injuries a football player may encounter: 

  • Shoulder:
    • Shoulder dislocation
    • Shoulder fracture (fractured clavicle)
    • Shoulder separation
    • Rotator cuff tears
  • Hand or wrist:
    • Finger fractures
    • Wrist sprains
    • Wrist tendonitis
  • Hip, knee and leg:
    • Torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL)
    • Hip pointer (injury to the iliac crest along the top of the pelvis, usually caused by a direct blow)
    • Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome (inflammation of the tendon that runs along the outside of the upper thigh)
    • Knee sprain
    • Medial collateral ligament (MCL) tears
    • Torn meniscus
    • Shin splints (lower leg pain), stress reactions and stress fractures
  • Foot or ankle:
    • Achilles tendonitis
    • Ankle sprains
    • Turf toe (hyperextension of the big toe that can occur when blocking or tackling)

Football Safety and Injury Prevention Tips
Athletes are prone to injury, whether a casual player or an elite professional. Here are some valuable tips to keep you safe and healthy.

  • See your doctor for a pre-season physical to determine your readiness to play and discover any conditions that may (or should) limit participation.
  • Check the field for any holes, debris or other potential hazards before playing.
  • Always warm up and stretch before a game or practice session, and do not forget to stretch again afterward.
  • Be prepared for emergencies with a first-aid kit, a supply of ice, and the phone number of your team physician or the nearest medical facility.
  • Make sure all equipment — including helmets, pads and mouth guards — fits properly and is worn correctly.
  • If you need to wear glasses while playing or practicing, make sure the lenses are shatterproof or wear glass guards.

Trust our team of sports injury specialists at Houston Methodist to remove you from the injured list and provide you with the knowledge to help prevent future injuries.