It is that time of year again. NFL training camps have opened. While injury is inevitable in training camp, you would hope it’s of the miss a day of practice variety. But in this case, it’s not. Former Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett, of the Los Angeles Chargers, tore his achilles tendon. He tore his achilles’ tendon in the team’s conditioning test.
Sources: Nightmare again for the #Chargers, as CB Jason Verrett suffered an injury during the conditioning test that likely will cost him the season. Brutal luck on reporting day.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 27, 2018
Achille’s Tendon ruptures typically are non-contact injuries, other causes can be (but not limited too):
- Forceful push-off (jumping, cutting, running)
- Forceful overstretch (slowing yourself down or breaking a fall)
- Fall from significant height
- Fall abruptly from height
The Achille’s Tendon attaches the the calcaneus (heel bone). The tendon is an extension of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscle bellies. The Achilles’ tendon attachment allows for the gasrocnemius and soleus muscle to plantarflex the ankle.
Plantarflexion is a vital movement to allow for individuals to walk and run.
It’s been stated that when you rupture your Achille’s tendon, it feels as though you have just been kicked in the calf. Often times you can hear a distinct “pop,” and then lose the ability to point your toes down.
Rehabilitation can range from 6 to 9 months, often times 12 months is complete recovery to return to sport. If there is a complete rupture surgery is required, if there is not a complete rupture surgery can be avoided but it’s dependent on how his tendon recovers on it’s own.
But with the surgical route the only option in Jason Verrett’s case, he’s going to start care for his Achilles’ once surgery is completed. For several weeks, he’s not going to be doing anything, it’s just wound care.
Rehabilitation is going to progress from passive range of motion to teaching him how to normalize balance in the first few weeks before he begins to start active care. His range of motion will be extremely limited to make sure he doesn’t tear his sutures and doesn’t have pain introducing range of motion.
Six to eight weeks after surgery, ideally the patient is able to control their ankle range of motion and be able to walk without the use of a boot or an assistive device. In this time frame a lot of general practitioners take many patients through calf raises (double and single leg), banded ankle resistance in dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion, and eversion. All that basic stuff and “standard” stuff is done in the beginning.
It’s how he progresses is going to determine how well he can come back from his injury.
The goal is in four months that he’s beginning to run without a limp and be able to handle complete impact of body weight. Ideally he’s progressing well in single plane exercises.
- Sagittal Plane – squats, deadlifts, stationary lunges, sled drag
- Front Plane – lateral lunges, lateral sled drag, lateral step ups
The transition from single plane exercises to multi-plane exercises hopefully is completed by the end of four months. Much of his work is going to be completed in the first four months in the physical therapy realm and then he’ll be transitioned to the strength and conditioning coaches in the four to five months to build him back into the athlete he needs to be.
His season is over. It’s an unfortunate situation because he has a long history of season-ending injuries since entering the NFL. It’s not only him but the Los Angeles Chargers cannot seem to keep their best players healthy. They have already lost tight end Hunter Henry during off-season OTAs.
Jason Verrett should be ready to go by this time next year, since typically achilles’ injuries are 6 to 9 month recovery programs but can be up to a 12 months depending on if there are any setbacks or complications. While you cannot account for setbacks and complications, also standard protocols and guidelines are designed for general population and not specifically for professional athletes. He won’t be back for the 2018 NFL Season, but he could potentially be available for OTA’s and mini-camps. Happy Healing.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these photos. All the credit goes to USA Today, NFL, ESPN, Sports Illustrated.