There has been a lot of debate on whether Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen should resume playing. Most of the people commenting are worried because baseball players who experience similar injuries usually require surgery and more than a year for recovery.
When the injury occurred and the diagnosis was made known, I posted an article about the differences between UCL injuries in baseball vs football. That posting can be found here . When I wrote the article, despite a number of national media outlets claiming 2-3 weeks, I predicted he would be out of the lineup until after the bye. Since this is what is coming to pass, there now seems to be a new social media barrage again debating whether he should return or not.
In the NFL the average time missed with this type injury is 26.4 days. During the downtime, the main emphasis for NFL players is developing the other arm muscles and tendons to help make up for any lost stability in the elbow due to the UCL injury.
Another difference is that NFL quarterbacks can wear an elbow brace and adequately perform in the game setting whereas baseball pitchers can’t. The main concern will be pain management and limiting any risk of re-injury. I am sure the training staff has instituted a plan to minimize any unnecessary stressors and Allen’s throws will be closely monitored both in practice and future games.
An interesting thing that may occur as a result of this injury is that Allen may actually improve his ability to throw the touch passes, that require more finesse rather than just sheer power. Many baseball pitchers who return to the pitching rotation following Tommy John surgery report that they have added one or more off-speed pitches to their repertoire.
2018 is about finding out whether Allen can lead this football team into the future. If he has adequately recovered from his injury, he belongs on the field playing and learning the ins and outs of playing QB in the NFL. He should be fine returning to the playing field, injuries happen in football. Some can be prevented but a lot of them are just bad timing.
Editor’s babble: Interesting tidbit about Allen possibly being able to throw touch passes more effectively in the future. That would be a blessing because it’s clear Allen throws the ball with great force causing some receivers to have difficulty catching his passes. As always, thanks to Dr. Beth Sullivan for sharing her expertise with us. You can find Beth on Twitter @GAPeachPolymer.