Jildeh TR, Meta F, Young J, Page B, and Okoroha KR. Concussion in National Football League Athletes Is Not Associated With Increased Risk of Acute, Noncontact Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Injury. Orthop J Sports Med 2021; 9(5):23259671211003491.
Orthop J Sports Med
Background: Impaired neuromuscular function after concussion has recently been linked to increased risk of lower extremity injuries in athletes.
Purpose: To determine if National Football League (NFL) athletes have an increased risk of sustaining an acute, noncontact lower extremity injury in the 90-day period after return to play (RTP) and whether on-field performance differs pre- and postconcussion.
Study Design: Cohort study, Level of evidence, 3.
Methods: NFL concussions in offensive players from the 2012-2013 to the 2016-2017 seasons were studied. Age, position, injury location/type, RTP, and athlete factors were noted. A 90-day RTP postconcussive period was analyzed for lower extremity injuries. Concussion and injury data were obtained from publicly available sources. Nonconcussed, offensive skill position NFL athletes from the same period were used as a control cohort, with the 2014 season as the reference season. Power rating performance metrics were calculated for ±1, ±2, and ±3 seasons pre- and postconcussion. Conditional logistic regression was used to determine associations between concussion and lower extremity injury as well as the relationship of concussions to on-field performance.
Results: In total, 116 concussions were recorded in 108 NFL athletes during the study period. There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of an acute, noncontact lower extremity injury between concussed and control athletes (8.5% vs 12.8%;
Conclusion: Concussed, NFL offensive athletes did not demonstrate increased odds of acute, noncontact, lower extremity injury in a 90-day RTP period when compared with nonconcussed controls. Immediate on-field performance of skill position players did not appear to be affected by concussion.