Anyone who watched the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks likely cringed when they saw the replay of NaVorro Bowman’s goal line stand. With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, Bowman ripped the ball from the hands of Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse before two players collapsed on the side of his left leg. The play was ruled a fumble, recovered by Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch. But the truly startling part of the play was the vicious injury Bowman sustained to his left knee.
Knee injuries are more common than even some athletes recognize. The knee is stabilized by a series of ligaments, allowing for a wide range of motion in the joint. Athletes routinely make a number of sharp movements with their knees, especially in sports like football, where players regularly make cuts and direction changes. However, when the knee is moved out of its normal range of motion, strains and tears can occur in the ligaments.
In Bowman’s case, he suffered a sprain to his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). ACL injuries are considered among the most severe for athletes (this is the same injury that sidelined star Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson in 2011). Fortunately for Bowman, surgery to repair a torn ACL has come a long way in recent years. In fact, Peterson famously recovered from his ACL repair in record time and nearly broke the single-season rushing record the very next year. What was once considered a career-ending injury is now very treatable.
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a knee injury, it is important to seek medical attention. Mild sprains may heal without treatment, but it is important to rule out more serious problems. In the event of a knee injury, keep your weight off of that leg and schedule an appointment to see a doctor. Most people can recover from these types of injuries quite nicely with the proper treatment, although no one should expect to compare to Adrian Peterson.