Injuries and Penalties

Now that the 2012 season has been put to rest with the Argo Grey Cup victory my understanding is that the Cats are busy compiling player by player assessment video for next year. I hope they will also include video of Cortez’s press interviews for equal assessment. Ok enough on that.
I’d like to move onto another subject that of the ever-increasing number of player injuries that are plaguing all the clubs. Also, the need to perhaps change some of the penalty calls.
It seems that this year has been a particularly troublesome one from a player injury standpoint of view. This has been true not only for the TiCats, but also for the other clubs as well. At any one time there appeared to be a significant number of starters sidelined from various injuries.
Some of the things that come to mind are firstly, the playing field. Is there enough padding on current fields and is the artificial turf forgiving enough when players plant and try to make cuts? Would we be better off going back to natural grass fields, though these have their own issues and problems! Secondly, I cannot believe that in this age the only type of headgear that is available is one made of a hard material. I don’t understand why no company has developed a soft polymer helmet that would absorb head shocks better. Please, I’m not advocating the return to leather headgear, but rather to helmets that are protective, soft coated and not spears. Thirdly, better body protection could be developed with more padded forgiving body suits.
The other part of my suggestion is a recommendation to change the “roughing the QB? penalty. I have seen on a number of occasions a D-lineman accidentally make contact with the QB because an O-Lineman pushed him into the QB. This has resulted in a roughing the passer call and on occasion contributed to the outcome of the game. I suggest that, yes protect the QB but as in accidental pass interference make the penalty less severe when accidental contact has been deemed to have been made. Your opinions and suggestions are appreciated.

As far as your question about injuries related to Field Turf, here's what I found as far as far research. Study was circa 2010. Hope it helps.

http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/38/4/687.abstract

[b]Results In sum, 465 collegiate games were evaluated for game-related football injuries sustained on FieldTurf or natural grass during 3 seasons. Overall, 230 team games (49.5%) were played on FieldTurf versus 235 team games (50.5%) played on natural grass. A total of 2253 injuries were documented, with 1050 (46.6%) occurring during play on FieldTurf, and 1203 (53.4%) on natural grass. Multivariate analysis per 10 team games indicated significantly lower total injury incidence rates, F(3, 2249) = 3.468, P = .016, n – ? = 0.778, on FieldTurf, 45.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], 44.2–46.3), versus natural grass, 51.2 (95% CI, 49.8–51.7). Significantly lower minor injury incidence rates, 38.0 (95% CI, 36.9–38.5) versus 39.9 (95% CI, 39.1–40.0, P = .001), substantial injury incidence rates, 5.0 (95% CI, 4.3–5.6) versus 7.2 (95% CI, 6.6–7.7, P = .020), and severe injury incidence rates, 2.7 (95% CI, 2.1–3.3) versus 4.1 (95% CI, 3.5–4.1; P = .049), were documented on FieldTurf versus natural grass, respectively. Multivariate analyses also indicated significantly less trauma on FieldTurf when comparing injury time loss, injury situation, grade of injury, injuries under various field conditions, and temperature. No significant differences in head, knee, or shoulder trauma were observed between playing surfaces.

Conclusion FieldTurf is in many cases safer than natural grass. It must be reiterated, however, that the findings of this study may be generalizable to only this level of competition. Because this study is still in the early stages, investigation is ongoing.[/b]

Now, from conversations I've had with athletes and coaches, there is concern regarding its maintenance. Maintaining that optimal level of the rubber pellets and the length of the plastic grass and choosing the proper foot wear is very delicate and key. Not enough pellets, longer studs ... guys get their feet locked in and that's where you get ACL & Achilles blowouts. Too many pellets, shallow moulded cleats ... guys slip and slide all over the place and injuries occur. I recall a few years ago, the first game at MAC had a lot of injuries and the maintenance of the field turf was the issue and first thing Monday, a truck load of rubber pellets were quickly added.

Now, all that being said, my personal belief is that the rise, (if any) in injuries has less to do with the playing surface and more to do with today's modern athlete. The guys are so much bigger, stronger, faster. To me it's just basic physics. Bigger, stronger men moving at faster speeds, crashing into each other with so much more force and impact. As far as training & conditioning, the musculatures are changing rapid, but the skeletons are not. I often think that ligaments, tendons and bones were just not meant to support the mass muscle these athletes are putting on nor withstand the inherent violent collisions.

I'll look into if there's any good info on injury rates and if they're in fact rising. Hope this helps.

Ajax18 wrote:

"The other part of my suggestion is a recommendation to change the “roughing the QB? penalty. I have seen on a number of occasions a D-lineman accidentally make contact with the QB because an O-Lineman pushed him into the QB. This has resulted in a roughing the passer call and on occasion contributed to the outcome of the game. I suggest that, yes protect the QB but as in accidental pass interference make the penalty less severe when accidental contact has been deemed to have been made. Your opinions and suggestions are appreciated."

Your raise some interesting points, Ajax. This paragraph above brought up a thought that came to me a while back. Sometimes, that Dlineman or LB ends up bowling into the quarterback because he's been pushed there by an Olineman or RB pass blocking. If a defender can be flagged for roughing the passer, why can't an offensive player be flagged for pushing a defender into the quarterback to create a situation for the earlier penalty if the offensive player sees that his quarterback may be going down anyway in the onslaught of a heavy blitz.

Just a thought.....

Does anybody have stats that show where the Cats stood injury wise relative to the rest of the league? My perception (and that's all it is) is that the Cats had relatively more player games lost to injury; particularly on defense.

Thanks for the info. I think your right. The guys are bigger, stronger creating more impact. These are likely key factors as to why there are so many injuries. The initial stats on turf vs grass were a bit of a surprise. I would have thought the injury rates would have been higher on turf.