FCS spring injuries will no doubt have an impact on football in the fall
The ACL injury that ended VMI senior quarterback Reece Udinski’s spring season brings up an interesting issue for FCS football looking ahead to the fall.
Everybody is playing into April, and some playoff teams will be at it through May. With regular-season games in the fall beginning in September, that doesn’t leave a lot of recovery time in between.
“What you need to understand is just the physical toll that a football season takes on a player on a team at the end of any given football season,” said Dr. Winston Gwathmey, a specialist in sports medicine with UVA Orthopedics who is a team physician for athletics programs at Virginia and James Madison University.
“UVA, JMU, whoever it might be, even the NFL, you’ll have anywhere between eight and 12 players who require surgery for a variety of ailments – labrum tears, knee meniscus tears and things like that. And normally we have a six-month turnover time to get these guys back,” Gwathmey said.
And that’s just for the normal, run-of-the-mill stuff.
Injuries like the one suffered by Udinski, a record-setting QB at VMI who had announced before the start of the season that he intended to transfer to Maryland to try to compete for the starting job there in the fall, obviously have lengthier recovery times.
For teams like JMU and VMI, which is on the verge of clinching an FCS playoff spot with its surprise 5-0 start in the spring season, the turnaround time for even just rest and recovery is almost non-existent.
“We’re going to have our last game this season sometime in May, and then our summer practice will start, we’ll have July workouts, and then August practice, then games in September. There’s just hardly any time for us to get our act together,” Gwathmey said.
Story by Chris Graham