Significance of Off-season/pre-season

The injury-plagued Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season left the sports community stunned and wondering what could have caused this dreadful upsurge. Whether this predicament is mere coincidence or not, the abnormal offseason and lack of preseason caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are most likely the culprits.
Among the many players who were taken off the field in the devastating week include the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Bosa, Broncos’ Drew Lock, Giants’ Saquon Barkley and Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey. Both Bosa and Barkley will miss the rest of the season with torn ACLs.
Although it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact cause, there is a convincing correlation between unusual offseasons with restricted training and an increase in injuries. During the 2011 NFL lockout, players had limited access to their coaches and team doctors, with a rushed preseason leading up to the regular season. The result of this was a 25 percent increase in injuries compared to the previous season. The circumstances for this year’s NFL season are strikingly similar to those of the 2011 NFL season, with quarantine impacting the offseason and preseason similarly to the lockout.
The offseason is an opportunity for players to train and improve their performance for the following season, making it crucial in the prevention of injuries and improvement of their health. Poor offseason training increases the risk of injury for players during the preseason and in-season, as they strain themselves more during competition.
This year’s offseason was heavily affected by the global pandemic as it left players a small amount of time to get into shape. Teams did not have organized practices during the offseason and players had to work out individually, which proved difficult as gyms across the country were closed.
The cancellation of the usual four-week preseason schedule is also a possible factor in causing the surprising number of injuries during Week 2. Alongside a shortened training camp, the league cancelled all preseason games, as players felt it was an unnecessary risk to virus exposure.
Players often look at preseason games as an extra risk to their health, but ignore that they are also beneficial in preparing the body for the physical exertion and contact of a live game.
Though it’s possible that Week 2’s injuries were an unfortunate coincidence; no one will ever know. After all, Week 1 had typical rates of injury.
Injuries for athletes are tremendously significant as they can be career-altering, and at times even career-ending. Proper offseason and preseason training is essential to preventing these disastrous consequences.