The Associated Press sent reporters into all 32 NFL locker rooms over a two-month period this season to seek out players' thoughts about a career in a violent sport that, sooner or later, forces almost all of them to spend time in the training room nursing injuries.
The reporters surveyed 100 players — at least three from each team — and asked questions about their overall level of concern about injuries, how injuries affect their own play and that of others, where concussions rank among their health concerns, and whether teams have their best interests in mind.
A glance at the group of players who participated in the nonscientific survey, the questions that were posed, and the answers:
1-3 years: 34
4 or more years: 66
Special Teams: 23
Question 1: What is your level of concern about the risk of injury playing in the NFL?
x-70 players mentioned, on their own, that there is a 100 percent injury rate and/or that they're aware of the risks but try not to dwell on that.
Question 2: Have you noticed other players' play affected by what you might think would be health or injury concerns?
Not Sure: 6
Question 3: Has your play ever been affected by the thought of getting injured or making an existing injury worse?
Question 4: Do you think NFL teams, coaches and team doctors have players' best interests in mind when it comes to injuries and player health?
Not Sure/Refused: 14
Question 5: As compared to other sorts of injuries that could end your career or affect you later in life, are you more worried about head injuries than anything else? Or worried the same about head injuries? Less worried? Not worried at all?
Not At All: 9