Objectives: Achilles tendon (AT) ruptures are a potentially career-altering and ending injury. Achilles tendon ruptures have a below average return-to-play rate compared to other common orthopaedic procedures for National Football League (NFL) players. The objective of this study was to monitor the incidence and injury rates (IR) of AT ruptures that occurred during the regular season in order to evaluate the influence of player position, time of injury, and playing surface on rupture rates. Methods: A thorough online review was completed to identify published injury reports and public information regarding AT ruptures sustained during regular season and post-season games in the National Football League (NFL) during the 2009–10 to 2016–17 seasons. Team schedules, player position details and stadium information was used to determine period of the season of injury and playing surface. IRs were calculated per 100 team games (TG). Injury rate ratios (IRR) were utilized to compare IRs. Results: During eight monitored seasons, there were 44 AT ruptures in NFL games. A majority of AT ruptures were sustained in the first eight games of the regular season (n = 32, 72.7%). There was a significant rate difference for the first and second four-game segments of the regular season compared to the last two four-game segments of the regular season. Defensive players suffered a majority of AT ruptures (n = 32, 72.7%). The IR on grass was 1.00 per 100 TG compared to 1.08 per 100 TG on artificial turf (IRR: 0.93, p =.80). Conclusion: A significant increase in AT ruptures occurred in the first and second four game segments of the regular season compared to the last two-four game segments of the regular season. Defensive players suffered a majority of AT ruptures compared to offensive or specialist players. There was no difference between AT rupture rates and playing surface in games.
- Achilles tendon
- artificial turf
- natural grass
- playing surface
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation