Houston Texans should add genetic testing to draft process

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images /

With all of the non-contact injuries we are seeing around the NFL, Deshaun Watson included, the Houston Texans must incorporate genetic testing into their scouting process to determine predisposition to injury.

Well Houston Texans’ fans, the Deshaun Watson magic ended just as quickly as it started. Everyone’s hearts broke when the news broke that he suffered a non-contact injury in practice that resulted  in a torn ACL.

This injury got me thinking about numerous players that have suffered season ending injuries around the NFL Here is a list of them:

Dalvin Cook, running back, Minnesota Vikings, torn ACL via non-contact injury.

Richard Sherman, cornerback, Seattle Seahawks, torn Achilles.

Eric Berry, safety, Kansas City Chiefs, torn Achilles via non-contact injury.

Ryan Tannehill, quarterback, Miami Dolphins, torn ACL via non-contact injury.

Julian Edelman, wide receiver, New England Patriots, torn ACL.

Allen Robinson, wide receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars, torn ACL.

Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Minnesota Vikings, torn ACL, torn MCL, dislocated knee cap, via non-contact injury.

This is just a sample and the list can go on. Most disturbing, and this includes Watson, is the fact that many went down with these injuries despite the fact that they weren’t hit.

It started to wonder. I am not a doctor and don’t have any science to back me up, but perhaps these elite athletes were their own worst enemies.

They relentlessly build muscle mass to increase strength and improve their speed and agility. Everyone is obsessed with an athletes’ explosiveness or SPARQ Score, which is an acronym for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness.

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Perhaps the human body was not built to handle the type of training and extra muscle mass. Maybe that is why we are seeing so much more of these non-contact injuries. We each have a body type. Bone density is different with each person. Perhaps there is a maximum ratio of muscle mass to bones that our skeletal, joints, tendons and ligaments can handle. Perhaps athletes are doing themselves harm by adding so much muscle.

Again, I am not a doctor, but I did find an article stating that adding to much muscle may be bad for NBA players. It’s no stretch to make the leap that the same may apply to NFL players.

As I researched further, I was surprised to find that these types of injuries may even have some sort of a genetic link. An article from the Atlantic discusses the genetics of being injury prone. Now remember, this is not Watson’s first ACL injury.

So in addition to harming themselves by adding so much unnatural muscle mass, perhaps some of these athletes were already at risk. Research is now showing that DNA can make some athletes more likely to get hurt.

So, if it is not being done already, teams must begin incorporating genetic testing of prospects into the scouting process on the front end, in order to determine a predisposition to injury.