Mike Tanier has a great article about how NFL teams can reduce preseason ACL injuries without having to eliminate the games.
One point he brings up is that the CBA requirements about offseason training may have done more harm than good.
The 2011 collective bargaining agreement added a dizzying array of restrictions on offseason training. The nine-week OTA period is broken into three phases. Strength and conditioning, with no on-field work, is limited to the first three-week phase. After that, coaches can schedule 90-minute on-field practices, while players are only required to be at the team facility for four hours; factor in everything from meetings to suiting up, and conditioning gets the short shrift.
The CBA rules were designed to severely limit full-contact practices and keep coaches from requiring 60-hour work weeks in May, both worthy goals from a player-safety standpoint. But the rules squeezed out much of the offseason conditioning work. That’s a problem, because the exercises and drills that can prevent ACL tears and soft-tissue injuries take additional time and must be reinforced over a series of weeks.
There’s more discussed about what NFL teams should do, based on medical research.
While there are legitimate arguments to make about changing the preseason, we do need to ask ourselves if the changes are really going to help reduce injury risks as much as they think they will.