May 22 (UPI) -- According to a new study, NFL players are 122 percent more likely to go on IR for a knee injury than a concussion.
The study by OnlineGAMBLING.ca also found that tight end is the most injury-prone position in the most popular professional sports league in the United States.
Analysts collected player injury data from the past two seasons to conduct the study, finding that knee injuries were the biggest culprit of injured reserve designations. Knee injuries were responsible for 30 percent of players landing on IR. The study analyzed types of injuries, the position where the injury occurred and the team the player was on.
While attention has been focused on concussions in the NFL, this study looked at a wide range of reported injuries, and found players are much more likely to injure their lower halves. Offensive skill players are the most likely players to get injured.
Tight ends have 35.6 percent odds of getting injured, with 80 injuries forcing them to go on IR over the last two seasons. Running backs come in at No. 2 (31 percent/97), followed by wide receivers (28.5 percent/115), defensive linemen (26.1 percent/156), defensive backs (25.7 percent/200), offensive linemen (21.7 percent/153), linebackers (21.5 percent/126), quarterbacks (19.7 percent/28), kickers (4.8 percent/7) and punters (1.4 percent/1).
"We didn't go into the study with any assumptions about which position would rank highest," the OnlineGAMGLING.ca team said. "We found the results interesting, but it didn't confirm or disprove a certain hypothesis on our end."
Player injury information was collected from spotrac.com. Player position information was gathered from individual team rosters.
Over the last two seasons, the Ravens lead the NFL, sending 48 players (24 offensive and 24 defensive) to injured reserve. The New Orleans Saints have sent the second-most players to IR with 43.
The New York Jets have the third-most at 42, followed by the Los Angeles Chargers (41), San Francisco 49ers (39), Buffalo Bills (38), Chicago Bears (38) and Detroit Lions (38). While the Raiders had the fewest players land on IR (15), the Green Bay Packers had the second-fewest number of players on IR (17). The Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons each had 21 players on IR in the past two seasons. An NFC East squad and an NFC North franchise tied for the fourth-fewest players on IR with 23 (Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings). The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, the Los Angeles Rams and the Houston Texans each had 24 guys go on IR.
The analysts who conducted the study emphasized that the numbers aren't a referendum on the medical staff for each franchise.
"With regards to the medical staffs of the teams, we didn't intend for this to be a referendum on them at all," the OnlineGAMBLING.ca team said. "Injuries are an unavoidable part of football and most of the time are outside of anyone's control. We looked at it more from a luck perspective, as in which teams had better and worse luck when it comes to injury."
Gisele Bundchen said last week that her husband, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, "had a concussion last year," but didn't miss any playing time because of it and wasn't listed with one on any injury report. Brady's agent, Don Yee, has since denied his client had a concussion. Saints quarterback Drew Brees recently told the Dan Patrick Show that self-reporting head injuries is a "gray area."
The Saints sent almost twice as many defensive players than offensive players to injured reserve during this time frame. The Indianapolis Colts also sent a bounty of defenders to IR, with 19 landing on the shelf. During that time, those teams have ranked as bottom-seven defenses in the NFL.
A back injury was statistically responsible for the fewest amount of ailments leading to IR.
Statistically speaking, back injuries made up only 3.3 percent of the reasons players were listed on IR. Concussions were the designation for 4 percent of the injuries in the last two seasons.
Knee injuries were the No. 1 reason for IR designations at 16.7 percent. Knee ACL injuries (12.8 percent), undisclosed (8.3 percent), shoulder (8.3 percent), ankle (8.1 percent) and foot injuries (6.4 percent) were also among the most common ailments.
According to that data, a player's odds of injuring his knee is 122.7 percent higher than missing game time from a concussion.
Lorenzo Taliaferro of the Ravens, Lonnie Ballentine of the Texans and Marquess Wilson of the Bears led all players with times landing on IR with three. Not a single NFL franchise went through the seasons unscathed, as zero teams had their opening day rosters intact by the end of the season.
The NFL made sweeping rule changes this offseason, with several tied to protecting players.
Players are now banned from leaping over the line of scrimmage in an attempt to block a field goal or extra-point try. A defenseless player designation has been extended to wide receivers running a pass route. Crack-back blocks have been banned by backfield players who are in motion, even if they are not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped.
A bylaw for a procedure in which players with concussions can be replaced on the active roster an unlimited number of times during the season when declared out on the injury report was not adopted. But bylaws passed included: liberalized rules for timing, testing and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club facility for one year only and altering the procedures for players returning from reserve/PUP or reserve/non-football injury or illness to the active list.