The following is a guest post by Annabelle.
Last season the NFL made fans, players, and medical experts redefine what is meant by the words "career ending injury." The top two MVP finalists, Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson, were both returning from injuries many considered would significantly cripple or even end their respective careers. Manning had undergone multiple neck operations, while Peterson tore both his ACL and MCL, both injuries that once spelled doom for playmakers at their positions. But, not only did both Peterson and Manning return, but both were unquestionably the best players at their respective positions in 2012, with Peterson coming within ten yards of the all time rushing record and winning the prestigious league MVP. The examples of Manning and Peterson may seem insignificant, outliers in the vast scope of the NFL, but when we also consider the returns of Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis and Jamal Charles, or the continued play of Robert Griffin III, we have to consider the question: What has caused this dramatic shift in the landscape of injuries in the NFL?
Certainly, it's impossible to make generalizations or lump all these athletes together. They each had different injuries, different recovery regiments, and varied results of success. Manning and Peterson are both defined as workaholics by their teammates and the media; it should come as no surprise that they came back at the level each did. The return of Ray Lewis is mired in controversies including but not limited to steroids extracted from deer antlers, but that is an outlier on this list.
Regardless of the specifics, it seems there is a shift happening across the NFL: Injuries (perhaps) are no longer as career threatening as they once were. After all, if a running back like Peterson can essentially have his knee torn in half (twice) and not only return but challenge a long-standing record, what else is possible for the modern athlete?
There have been plenty of other athletes that have come back from serious injuries and there will be plenty more. The NFL is doing everything they can to improve the safety and quality of the game. Advances in preventive and recovery medicine have come a long way since the days of the NFL's advent, and with it players seem to be becoming more durable, dependable, and healthy in the long term.
The NFL has also taken steps in recent years to prevent serious injuries by making certain hits illegal (see horse-collaring and hitting a quarterback below the knees, thank you Terrell Owens and Tom Brady, respectively), which has helped prevent serious injuries before they happen. Through both medical advances and new rules, players are protected today like never before. In the end everyone wins, and the sport will hopefully continue to near a day when promising careers are no longer cut short by accidents on the field.
Annabelle is currently a loving and caring mother of two children. She lives outside of Milwaukee, WI, and loves cheering for the Bucks and Badgers. She is a blog enthusiast and loves writing. If she is not writing she is cleaning up after her two lovely angels. Her kids are getting into sports and she is looking into the best protective equipment for her kids and is looking into http://www.strengthtape.com/ for her kids' safety.