These injuries are extremely common in football and can be treated relatively easily as long as they are caught early and reported correctly. Fans often assume that with thigh pads, these injuries should not happen, but pads don’t always cover the entire thigh.
Too often in my career, a player would take a bruise to the quad and not report it due to its seemingly minor nature. This would lead to more missed time and perhaps not returning to field at all. Contact happens in football, and players attempt to play through things.
The “quad” is actually made up of separate compartments and when impacted, it can swell internally and cause a great deal of pain and even nerve damage if left untreated. Several reported cases saw players sitting down after practice, going to sleep at night or simply driving their car and not being able to move their leg after. I’ll save the gruesome pictures of what can happen if left untreated.
Hill’s quad contusion
Thankfully, in this case, the team caught the injury immediately. Compression will be used to combat any swelling that will arise. Also, Hill will be required to keep the knee bent maximally and held in place with an ace bandage or a similar item to maintain full range of motion for the first night of sleeping. It is uncomfortable but a necessary evil and provides the maximum chance for quick recovery.
Failure to due so will result in a longer absence from activity due to the swelling that will occur in a more straightened position. Also, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and hot tubs are a no-go for the first 48 hours to prevent an increase in swelling as well.
Early motion and even deep knee flexion motions are encouraged to facilitate a quicker recovery. Walking, jogging and even running as tolerated in a pool or Alter G is encouraged as soon as possible to regain form. Quad strengthening exercises are initiated as soon as possible also since this injury has a tendency to make the quad contract with less strength and force.
A possible timetable for return
These injuries do not typically keep athletes out long if they are managed correctly and promptly. Obviously, with a skill/speed player, it may take a bit longer to regain form as compared to a lineman.
So the best of news re Tyreek Hill injury. Quad contusion much easier to manage. Will require compression and bent knee positioning early to limit swelling. This will take a couple of days to get over, especially for a receiver. @ArrowheadPride— Aaron Borgmann (@RehabAllStar) July 30, 2019
Seemingly a simple injury, players can make a complete recovery fairly quickly.
Aaron Borgmann is the founder of Borgmann Rehab Solutions. He spent 12 years in the NFL as an assistant athletic trainer and physical therapist before joining Arrowhead Pride.