Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson ruptured his achilles tendon last year at the age of 32. This year, he is back and is having his best season ever at the age of 33. This is quite rare in the NFL or for that matter any sport.
The Kansas City Star has a great article on Johnson’s recovery from his achilles tendon rupture and his excellent season.
This NFL season is turning out to be a groundbreaking one for the wrong reason — a record 15 NFL players have ruptured their achilles tendons this year and we are barely over half way through the season. These figures are according to an article on philly.com and include preseason injuries too. Week 8 of the season had three players rupturing their achilles tendons, which is extremely unusual. In most NFL seasons, an average 7 players rupture their achilles tendons. This year, we could see 25 players suffering from this nasty injury if this current pace continues.
According to a study from 2009, 32 percent of NFL players who suffered from an achilles tendon injury between 1997 and 2002 subsequently never returned to play. Moreover, those who did return to play suffered a major decline in power ratings.
Make sure to also read my post on achilles tendon ruptures in the NBA. It now makes sense to me that there is significant undercounting going on in the NBA, although one should also note that NBA team rosters (around 15 players per team) are a lot smaller than NFL team rosters (around 53 players per team).
A new study conducted by researchers from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Rothman Institute of Jefferson Medical College discussed two important issues based on past findings by other researchers:
- Around 25 percent of achilles tendon ruptures are missed during initial inspection and consultation.
- Conservative treatment is usually sufficient to treat acute achilles tendon ruptures. In younger athletes, surgery usually leads to slightly better outcomes with fewer instances of re-rupture. However, for most people, non-surgical treatment is sufficient and leads to favorable results.