Most Common Injuries in Football

By Brain Injury Law of Seattle

most common injuries in football

In college and high school football, injuries have claimed lives and shortened careers for decades. Parents and players often ask, “What are the most common injuries in football, and what can I do about them?” Keep reading to learn more.

Football Injuries Statistics

Football injuries are a fact of life at every level of competitive football, from children’s leagues to the NCAA and NFL. The NFL reported hundreds of injuries in 2021, including:

  • 187 Concussions
  • 71 ACL tears
  • 129 ACL tears

According to the Brain Injury Research Institute, brain injuries occur in one out of every 5.5 football games, causing 10% of college players and 20% of all high school players to sustain injuries.

According to a 2022 Sports Illustrated Article, 14 college football players have died from the heat since 2020.

If you are a student-athlete or the parent of a student-athlete, be aware of the risk of injury. Take steps to prioritize safety before an injury occurs and to get help after the fact. Students have enough to worry about in the modern world without having to feel like they are on their own if they suffer a sports-related injury.

Most Common Injuries In Football

What is the most common football injury? Each of the following is a contender.


Concussions in football players are shockingly common, even when players wear helmets.

concussions in football players

Torn Knee Ligaments

Tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) are common football injuries because football players frequently jump and change direction. Knee ligament tears can be excruciatingly painful, limit mobility, and also require a lengthy recovery period.


Athletes often play football on hot days while wearing padding and heavy equipment. Long practice sessions and game days force players to exert themselves and do not always provide adequate opportunities for hydration.

The signs of heat stroke can develop insidiously over the course of the day. Be alert for symptoms such as the following (from the Mayo Clinic):

  • Confusion
  • Flushed skin
  • Fast heartbeat
  • High body temperature

Shin Splints

Shin splints are a cause of pain in the lower leg. They result when tendons, muscles, or bones suffer strain due to long or intense practice sessions or grueling games.

Shoulder Injuries

Injuries to the rotator cuff and other parts of the shoulder are frequent causes of disability in football players.

Twisted Ankles

Many college athletes twist their ankles during games. While they typically heal with rest and time, some athletes feel pressure to continue to play despite injuries, which can lead to serious, debilitating consequences.

football injuries statistics

Preventing Football Injuries

If you are involved in a football league, ensure that the players and coaches have the resources they need to prevent and respond appropriately to football injuries. Follow these best practices to reduce your own risk.

Wear a Helmet

A helmet reduces but does not eliminate the risk of traumatic brain injuries.

Wear Other Protective Equipment

Shoulder pads, knee pads, mouth guards, and face protection all reduce the risk of football injuries.

Take Time to Heal

Continuing to play while injured places additional stress on the injured body part and exposes the athlete to the risk of additional injuries. A grave, potentially fatal risk that athletes face is second impact syndrome (SIS), which occurs when players suffer a concussion or other traumatic brain injury while they heal from a previous brain injury.


Practicing regularly to develop skills and train muscles can reduce the risk of injury, as long as the practice sessions are not overly intense and allow sufficient opportunities for rest and hydration.

Eat Right and Keep Hydrated

A diet that strengthens bones and muscles can reduce the risk of injuries during play. Proper hydration makes players more attentive during games and minimizes the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Play a Safer Form of Football

If you can choose between playing tackle football or flag football, choose flag football.  The CDC found that youth tackle football players sustained 15 times more head impacts than flag football players.

Get Legal Help from the Brain Injury Law of Seattle Today!

Football injuries due to a lack of protective gear, overexertion, or lack of appropriate medical care can cost athletes the chance at scholarships and even cause lifelong disability.

What is the most common injury in football? We might never know because football’s most common injuries don’t get enough attention. Concerned players and their attorneys work hard to change that.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury on the football field, get the help you need today. Call Brain Injury Law of Seattle or request a consultation from our website.


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