September 2017

Navicular injury in college football players slashes odds of NFL success

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

National Football League (NFL) prospects with a history of navicular injury are significantly less likely to be successful at the professional level than those without such an injury history, according to research that underscores the importance of restoring gait and function after a navicular stress injury in athletes.

Investigators from the Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, CO, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston analyzed 14 players with a history of navicular stress injury or fracture who attended the annual NFL Combine over a seven-year period. More than half (57%) of these players went undrafted, compared with 30.9% of players without a history of navicular injury. Just 28.6% of combine attendees with navicular injury played for two years or longer in the NFL, compared with 69.6% of controls.

Among the 12 players with navicular injury who underwent radiographs, evidence of talonavicular arthritis was observed in 75% of injured feet and 60% of contralateral feet.

The findings were published in August by the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine.


Vopat B, Beaulieu-Jones BR, Waryasz G, et al. Epidemiology of navicular injury at the NFL Combine and their impact on an athlete’s prospective NFL career. Orthop J Sports Med 2017;5(8): 2325967117723285. 

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