When it comes to foot ankle injuries the NFL needs some unbiased towards the teams thats Dr. Coughin steps into help.
NFL players seem to live a life of envy, how many other careers have a starting salary of 405,000 dollars year and less than 10 years of mandatory work before you have the opportunity to qualify for retirement?
All that being said most of the players that play on Sunday's pay the hefty price in lifelong pain. Dr. Coughlin who is a physician for St. Alphonsus and a NFL consultant has witnessed first hand the hardship of an NFL player.
Dr. Coughlin is entering his tenth year working with the NFL. The NFL has put a lot of focus on concussions but surprisingly 45 percent of the games injuries are a result of the foot and ankle.
“These are high ankle sprains turf toes list frank injuries and ruptured Achilles. These can be career ending injuries or they can be very expensive so it seems very nice that the teams spend a lot of money on research preventing one injury is a good investment for them and it's important for us because we want to prevent that injury cause it's a player thats hurt,” said MD Coughlin.
Injuries that players sustain are not just because of the turf or the grass but are also a result of field maintenance. Dr. Coughlin has worked with some of the league's best shoe providers including Adidas and Nike. According to Dr. Coughlin the best place to play the game is on natural grass.
If you look at the safest place it's Soldier Field with the mud and ice because you don’t get traction and you slip and slide and you don’t tear your ACL because you fall down,” said, Coughlin.
Turf fields will continue to be used due to lower maintenance costs and the increased playability. Shoe companies along with Dr. Coughlin have continued to evaluate shoes as it will continue to be a revolving door.
“We are testing these cleats out on the turf and on grass and then we go back and our scientists go back to these companies and say this is an unsafe shoe and we have instituted a barcode on the shoes as part as of committee so when someone is injured we can track that shoe and find out if there is a certain type of shoe or brand that is associated with more injuries, so we are trying to add science to a very difficult area,” said, Coughlin.
17 NFL stadiums are equipped with artificial turf and 14 have natural grass. According to NFL.com the rate for ankle sprains was 32 percent higher on field turf than on grass.
“The bottom line is players want to play if they get their head knocked around they don't want to go out of the game they want to keep playing because that's what they are there for there's a lot of blame to go around for all these things but we share it equally, the players to because they don’t want to come out they might hurt their knee but they want to go back in,” said, Coughlin.
Dr. Coughlin will continue to work with shoe manufacturers as well as the NFL to help cut down on foot and ankle injuries.