American Hip Institute

Whole-Person Impairment in Younger Retired NFL Players: The Orthopaedic Toll of a Professional Football Career.

Abstract: Professional American football is a physically demanding, high-impact sport with an elevated risk of injury. Orthopaedic injuries may impose acute, short-term or cumulative consequences throughout a player's lifetime. Several studies have addressed health and psychosocial concerns of an older, retired population of players in the National Football League (NFL); however, minimal research has examined the orthopaedic toll on younger, retired players.

METHODS: During the study period of February 2011 to August 2013, 65 younger retired NFL players presented for impairment evaluations. The mean time between retirement and impairment evaluation was 3.1 years (range, 0.3-16.4 years). A complete history and physical examination was performed on all symptomatic joints. A retrospective chart review was conducted on 100% of presenting players to assess orthopaedic burden. Body-part impairment (BPI) percentage for each affected joint was generated. The impairment data for each extremity were then combined with spine impairment data to create WPI percentage. Player demographics, including age, position, and playing time, were also recorded.

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