The Packers have had their fair share of injuries and then some over the past… oh, I don’t know, eternity.
Maybe they just have conservative doctors, maybe they draft injury prone players, or maybe it’s just the way the game it, but there’s no denying the Packers have missed more time from key players that most teams in the league.
The Packers recently announced some shuffling of their Strength and Conditioning staff, which, to the dismay of some fans, didn’t include mass firings.
I used to think that firing the Strength and Conditioning staff was the right move, but then I thought about it a little more…
WHat’s the purpose of Strength and Conditioning staff? I think it’s twofold (spoiler alert: the name gives it away): improving the strength to the players and improving the conditioning of the players.
Is the team not strong enough to win?
Do they look winded at the end of games?
No on both counts. So strength and conditioning are both fine.
So… now what?
We want to prevent injuries, right?
Then I proposed the Packers make a landmark move and be the first team to create the position of Injury Prevention Director.
I’m thinking someone with a sports science background that has medical training, nutritional experience, probably some strength and conditioning or personal training experience, and (ideally) a little analytics experience.
They would monitor the strength and conditioning process, but also study up on new sciences like how to eat based on your genes to create customized meal plans for every player based. They would study injuries across the league to see how they are happening.
Which teams have the fewest injuries? Why? Do they practice differently? Train differently? Eat differently? All of the above?
Surely we can put together some analytics around which injuries appear to be unavoidable freak accidents and which could be prevented. Then look at which teams have the fewest preventable injuries and dig deeper to find out why.
In the end, every team should have someone like this on their staff. Instead of the medical staff or S&T team having injury prevention as a piece of their role, find someone to dedicate fully to it.
Then, like doctors, there can be a coalition of them across the league, maybe across sports. They can all share their findings and try to improve the health of all teams for the good of the league and their athletes.
The Packers can be trailblazers in their pursuit and the players would reap the benefits.