The impact of nonoperative hip and core injuries on National Football League athlete performance

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The Physician and sportsmedicine


OBJECTIVES: Hip and core injuries are common in National Football League (NFL) athletes; however, the impact following injury remains unclear. The goal of this manuscript was to determine the impact of nonoperative hip and core injuries on return to play and performance.

METHODS: NFL athletes who sustained a hip or core injury treated nonoperatively between 2010 and 2016 were identified. Offensive and defensive power ratings were calculated for each player's injury season and two seasons before and after to assess longitudinal impact. A matched control group without an identified hip and/or core injury was assembled for comparison.

RESULTS: A total of 41 offensive and 71 defensive players with nonoperative hip or core injury were analyzed. All athletes returned to play; offensive and defensive players missed 4.0 ± 5.2 and 3.1 ± 2.6 games after injury, respectively. Offensive players played fewer cumulative career games returning from core injury versus hip (23.5 ± 20.6 vs 41.0 ± 26.4). Defensive players played fewer games (58.1 ± 41.1 versus 37.4 ± 27.1, p < 0.05) with lower defensive power rating (133.9 ± 128.5 versus 219.8 ± 212.2, p < 0.05) cumulatively after hip or core injury. Additionally, 2 years following injury, defensive players played fewer games compared to controls (9.5 ± 7.0 versus 10.9 ± 6.8, p < 0.05). Following hip injury specifically, NFL defenders played fewer games (39.8 ± 27.9 vs 61.9 ± 38.8; p < 0.05) and had a lower defensive power rating (145.9 ± 131.7 vs 239.0 ± 205.9; p < 0.05) compared to before injury.

CONCLUSION: Overall, NFL players return to play following nonoperative hip and core injuries. Defensive players played in fewer games following hip or core injury compared to controls; offensive players were unaffected. Hip injuries have a greater impact on performance compared to core injuries in defensive athletes; offensive players played fewer games upon return from core injury.

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print

First Page


Last Page