Analysis of National Football League preseason injuries resulting in roster cuts: A retrospective review

Hayden P. Baker*, Elan Volchenko, David Rossi, Steven R. Dayton, Vehniah K. Tjong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background:The National Football League (NFL) schedule consists of 16 regular season games and four additional preseason games each season. The structure of the NFL preseason allows franchises to evaluate 90 players in four games to determine which 53 should make the final roster. The purpose of this study was to investigate preseason injuries in NFL players and to identify risk factors for being cut from NFL teams after preseason injury.Methods:This study was a retrospective review of all injuries suffered by NFL athletes during the 2014 through 2019 NFL preseasons. The data were compiled using publicly available injury reports published on multiple websites.Results:We identified 110 injuries during the period of study involving players that were later cut from an NFL team during the preseason. The incidence of a preseason injury before being cut from the team was 1.59 per 1000 athletic exposures. The majority of NFL players who were cut after being injured were undrafted free agents (69 players, 63%). Rookies (38 players, 35%) most commonly were cut after being injured. Most athletes cut from NFL teams after preseason injury did not play another year in the NFL (82 players, 75%). The lower extremity was the most frequently injured body area, accounting for 45% (49 players) of all injuries.Conclusions:No prior NFL experience and being undrafted in the NFL draft were two common characteristics identified among athletes that sustained preseason injury and were later cut from the roster.Level of Evidence:Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Orthopaedic Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Injury
  • NFL
  • Preseason
  • Roster cut

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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