If there is one thing that has driven both the Green Bay Packers and their fans into white hot rage the past couple of seasons, it has been team’s ongoing battle with injury epidemics.
The Packers won Super Bowl XLV with 15 players on injured reserve, but that is the exception and not the rule. The past two seasons Green Bay has been dealt severe blows due to injury and their postseason success has suffered because of it.
Trying to find the cause of these injuries can be (and often is) a futile effort. Could it be poor conditioning by the player? Could it be poor practice schedule planning by the coaching staff? Or could it be just bad football luck two seasons in a row?
The definitive answer will never be known, so the Packers have turned the injury question around and instead of asking “what’s causing it!”, they’re asking “what can we do to lower the odds or even prevent them from happening?”
With the speed of the NFL game at an all time high (thanks Chip Kelly!), the Packers and several other teams have turned to medical science and nutrition to change how players get energy before practice and recover after.
In this article by Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packers players explain the benefits of what team nutritionist Adam Korzun has brought since the team hired him and they seemed pretty excited.
The big question for fans is whether or not this can or will work. Injuries will never be fully preventable until robots start playing the game but time will tell the impact this new style program will have on the Packers and indeed the NFL as a whole. It sounds so simple, but with a game such as football that places such an emphasis on bulking up as much as possible, it really is a significant change.
The article also says food tables are available at practice and that players also have the option of making healthy shakes or drinking pre-made smoothies in the weight room. All food is natural and organic, so there are no preservatives like in processed (and unhealthier) products. Players can have muffins or what Jarrett Bush called a “Jell-O energy bar.”
Food is only part of the program, however. Players also have to stay hydrated and the piece by Nickel states that it’s vital to preventing injuries. Hydration is key to recovering so a player can bounce right back after a rough practice instead of potentially injuring themselves.
One thing to keep in mind with a program like this is it is meant to prevent nagging injuries like muscle pulls and strains. It wrong necessarily prevent bones from fracturing, like what happened to Aaron Rodgers last season. Still, when key players still play but are hobbled by a nagging hamstring for example, this type of program can pay dividends given how badly a hamstring injury can bother a player over the course of a season.
Again this all seems so simple and it won’t be the magical cure or “Eureka!” moment many Packers fans were hoping for when it comes to the team’s chronic injury woes. It can’t do anything but help however, and that’s good enough for the Packers.
Now all we need is for Mike McCarthy to channel his inner Rex Ryan and tell his players “let’s go eat a (expletive) snack.”——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke