Health & Medicine

NFL Funds Hamstring Study

UW researchers tackle one of the most frustrating sports injuries.

Close-up photo of Badger football players on the field

Truly understanding hamstring injury risk requires a study of unprecedented size and scope. Jeff Miller

A team of researchers led by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health was awarded a four-year, $4 million grant by the National Football League to study the prevention and treatment of hamstring injuries for elite football players. Hamstring injuries are the most common injuries suffered by NFL players, but they are also common among recreational, collegiate, and high school players.

“The persistent symptoms, slow healing, and high rate of reinjury make hamstring strains a frustrating and disabling injury for athletes and a challenge for sports medicine clinicians to treat,” says Bryan Heiderscheit, professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation. “To truly understand and reduce hamstring injury risk requires a study of an unprecedented size and scope, and we’re able to do that now thanks to support from the NFL.”

A team of multidisciplinary researchers will combine quantitative imaging, on-field biomechanics, and computational analytics to determine risk factors and develop data-driven approaches to help individualize risk assessment. This work will help clinicians prevent injuries and return athletes to sports quickly.

“At the league, we recognize the significant burden hamstring injuries have on our elite athletes year after year,” says Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, who hopes that the study “will advance the health and safety of our players in the years to come.”

Published in the Fall 2021 issue


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