Shoulder Injuries in National Collegiate Athletic Association Quarterbacks: 10-Year Epidemiology of Incidence, Risk Factors, and Trends

Orthop J Sports Med. 2018 Feb 22;6(2):2325967118756826. doi: 10.1177/2325967118756826. eCollection 2018 Feb.


Background: Up to 50% of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football players have a history of shoulder injuries. The quarterback position has been shown to have a high prevalence of these injuries because of its unique exposures. There is little information regarding the shoulder injury type and mechanism in NCAA quarterbacks.

Purpose: To understand the 10-year epidemiology of specific shoulder injury rates in NCAA quarterbacks.

Study design: Descriptive epidemiology study.

Methods: Shoulder injury data for collegiate football quarterbacks from the 2004 through 2014 academic years were analyzed using the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program (ISP) data set.

Results: Over the 10-year study period, a total of 133 shoulder injuries to collegiate quarterbacks were reported, with 157,288 quarterback exposures. There was approximately 1 shoulder injury per 1221 exposures. The most common injuries noted were acromioclavicular sprains (45.1%, n = 60), followed by shoulder contusions (9.0%, n = 12), clavicular fractures (7.5%, n = 10), and anterior instability (5.3%, n = 7). The majority of injuries were caused by contact with a player (60.2%, n = 80) or contact with a playing surface (28.6%, n = 38), and 88% (n = 117) were deemed nonsurgical in nature.

Conclusion: NCAA ISP data analysis suggests that collegiate quarterbacks sustain acute contact injuries 89% of the time and that they typically occur while being tackled, resulting in a time loss of less than 2 weeks. These injuries are commonly treated nonsurgically.

Keywords: AC joint; football-related shoulder injuries; positional injuries; quarterback; shoulder contusion; shoulder injury.