Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Common Football Injuries


Football is the nation's leading cause of school sports injuries. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in 2007 alone, more than 920,000 young people 18 and under were treated for football-related injuries in hospitals, clinics, and physician offices.*

From passing to running to catching to tackling, nearly every move in football has the potential for causing some kind of injury, either cumulative (from overuse) or acute (from a sudden impact).

Shoulder injuries can include:

  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Shoulder fracture (fractured clavicle)
  • Shoulder separation
  • Torn rotator cuff

Hand or wrist injuries can include:

  • Finger fractures
  • Wrist sprains
  • Wrist tendonitis

Hip, knee, and leg injuries can include:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
  • Hip pointer (injury to the iliac crest along the top of the pelvis, usually caused by a direct blow)
  • Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome (inflammation of the tendon that runs along the outside of the upper thigh)
  • Knee sprains
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL) tears
  • Meniscus tears
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tears
  • Shin splints (inflammation of the layer of tissue over the shin bone)

Foot or ankle injuries can include:

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Ankle sprains
  • Turf toe (hyperextension of the big toe that can occur when blocking or tackling)

Football Safety and Injury Prevention Tips

  • See your doctor for a pre-season physical to determine your readiness to play and discover any conditions that may (or should) limit participation.
  • Check the field for any holes, debris, or other potential hazards before playing.
  • Always warm up and stretch before a game or practice session, and don't forget to stretch again afterwards.
  • Be prepared for emergencies with a first aid kit, a supply of ice, and the phone number of your team physician or the nearest medical facility.
  • Make sure all equipment-including helmets, pads, and mouth guards-fits properly and is worn correctly.
  • If you need to wear glasses while playing or practicing, make sure the lenses are shatterproof or wear glass guards.

The Houston Texans, Rice Athletics and high school teams across the city turn to the sports medicine specialists of Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine when their football players are sidelined by injury.

Find out how our physicians helped Texans quarterback Matt Schaub recover from a shoulder dislocation and get back on the field.

To find out more about football injuries or to make an appointment with one of our sports medicine specialists, visit the Request an Appointment page or contact us.

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