5 Ways Pro Football Stars Tackle Injuries on Their Journey to Super Bowl XLVIII
After weeks of intense preparation, training and hype, Super Bowl XLVIII is over, with Seattle hoisting the coveted trophy with a decisive 43-8 victory over Denver Sunday night. But before Seattle heads home to a tickertape parade, some well-deserved rest and maybe an ice bath or three, here’s a look back at how the stars of Super Bowl XLVIII made it to the big game in one piece.
1. Proper conditioning:
The first cold-weather Super Bowl didn’t just make things tougher on fans this year, it also gave the players an extra factor to prepare for. That’s because while adverse conditions make for memorable games, they also increase the risk of injury, namely muscle pulls and strains. So, despite playing outdoors all season long, both teams took the weather into consideration in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, tailoring their training to get players acclimated to frigid conditions and a harder field. Meanwhile, on game day, pre-game stretching was given added importance, as well as ensuring players stayed warm on the sidelines.
2. Taking time off:
Having a warrior mentality is necessary for pro football players to make it through a season’s worth of aches and pains. But when it comes to more serious injuries, the old-school notion of just “rubbing some dirt on it” can exacerbate an injury and add to recovery time. Both Percy Harvin and Champ Bailey had to deal with nagging problems that kept them off the field for the majority of the season; Harvin missing several months with a serious hip issue, while the future Hall of Famer Bailey’s sore left foot limited him to just three starts. Still, by taking time off to properly heal, both stars were able to get back on the field in the postseason – when it mattered most.
Sometimes rest alone isn’t enough to manage an injury however. That was the case for Harvin, who had offseason hip surgery earlier this year, and Peyton Manning, who was forced to sit out the entire 2011 season after four neck surgeries. It all paid off though when Manning came back better than ever, capping off his historic 2013 season with a Super Bowl appearance, and setting career highs in yards, touchdowns, and yelling the word “Omaha.”
Whether an athlete’s dealing with a nagging injury or recovering from major surgery, proper rehab is crucial to ensuring that when a player returns to the field, he’s back on it for good. Manning admitted he had to “relearn” how to throw a football after his surgeries, undergoing intense workouts designed to rebuild his arm strength – and his confidence. And when Doug Baldwin wore our SpiderTech Shoulder Spider during the NFC Championship Game, it wasn’t just to make a fashion statement (although we think it looked pretty good), it was another step in his own recovery process.
5. Listening to their doctors, and their bodies:
A 16 game season is tough enough without added weeks of playoffs, and by the time Denver and Seattle made it to the Super Bowl, just about everyone on the two rosters was likely dealing with an injury of some kind. Coming into the big game Sunday, Harvin and Bailey were both question marks who were able to suit up thanks to proper rest, while Manning and Baldwin have been successfully managing their injuries all season. But while winning a championship may the ultimate goal for every player, it’s important to balance the desire to play in one of the biggest games of their lives with being smart and not risking further or serious injury. After all, a new training camp starts up again in six months.