Another scenario that I believe needs improvement is how and where a player rehabs. Some GMs and head coaches won’t let a player rehab an injury away from the team’s facility during the season. The conflict/issue I witnessed is that a guy may be rehabbing an ACL tear (out for the year) and the trainers are focusing on getting guys healthy for each week’s game and reacting to the steady flow of injuries each week they have to manage. There is no doubt that when a player goes away to a dedicated rehab facility to focus on getting maximum care, he will most likely have a faster and more successful return to being one hundred percent. In defense of the NFL trainer, he or she just can’t do it all during the season.
If I were an NFL owner my training, rehab, and strength and conditioning people would be the best in the business. I would employ extra trainers to care for older vets and have another group dedicated strictly to the Injured Reserved players and PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) players. I would have a team of massage therapists who specialize in stretching and ART. My training and conditioning department would focus on the prevention of injuries, constantly educating players on their bodies and providing the best and latest nutritional and supplement products. I would even go so far as to have a room for outside specialists that have been hired directly by the players.
My training room would be more like a NASCAR team than a MASH unit. It may cost three times more than what an NFL team currently spends, but my players would be the healthiest and best treated in the league. For as much as owners invest into players’ salaries it makes sense to spend to protect their investments.
The good news is that I do see things improving and my players are getting more positive support and quality care from their trainers and team docs. Most recently, I was impressed by how the staff of the Colts proactively helped manage the surgeries and rehab plans for clients Pat Angerer and AJ Edds. However, many other teams still need to come out of the dark ages and improve their standard of care.
In this month of August when guys are dropping like flies, the trainers can help determine who can be the most competitive team come January.
Follow me on Twitter: @Jackbechta
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