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AP Survey Finds Most NFL Players Don’t Trust Team Trainers and Doctors
According to a survey conducted by the Associated Press, most NFL players do not have much faith in their team’s training and medical staff.
The AP surveyed 100 players, asking them a variety of questions. When asked specifically if they think NFL teams, coaches, and doctors have their best interest in mind when it comes to injuries and health, only 47% answered yes. Meanwhile, 39% said they do not believe teams have their best interest in mind, while 14% were either not sure or did not want to answer.
The most striking fact to emerge from the survey is that player trust goes down the longer they are in the league.
Of the 100 players surveyed, 66 had played at least four years in the NFL, while 34 had played fewer than four years. A whopping 71% of players who were new to the league said they do believe teams have their best interest in mind when it comes to injuries and health. However, only 35% of veterans feel the same way.
That players feel this way should hardly come as a surprise given the inherent conflict of interest team doctors and trainers face. “It’s their job to make you playable,” said Detroit Lions safety Don Carey. “There’s a lot of pressure on them to keep guys on the field.”
A number of players pointed out that the treatment you receive depends on who you are. There are only a handful of players on any given NFL team who are truly indispensable longterm. These are your franchise quarterbacks, your 1500-yard running backs, your All-Pro defensive ends, and so on. Everybody else plays an important role during the season but is essentially replaceable via draft and free agency once the season is over. So they are treated accordingly.
For example, the Green Bay Packers are not going to rush Aaron Rodgers back onto the field if it risks him being productive over the next five years. But a second year special teams player? If that guy has to have reconstructive knee surgery after the season it’s no big deal, because the team can just cut him and sign somebody else.
Titans lineman Jurrell Casey said it all comes down to whether or not you’re a starter. “You get your coach or trainer constantly coming up to you, telling you, ‘Oh, you coming back this week? You going to be ready tomorrow? You think you can go today?,’” he explained. “A lot of times, you get in your mind: ‘Does Coach really want to see me healthy? Or do they really want to see me play?’”
Of course, some teams handle player health better than others. “You hear stories—extreme one way, extreme the other way,” said Veteran lineman Antonio Smith. “Some places are really good at it, other places are, in the players’ opinion, not good at all.”
Hat Tip – [AP]