In 15 years as an NFL quarterback, Bobby Hebert suffered nine concussions, broke six ribs, had four knee operations and lost a handful of teeth. He could be a case study in why the league has added rules in recent seasons to protect the sport’s most prized commodity.
Still, with all the innovations and regulations installed to minimize the risk, the stark reality is this:
The quarterback will get hurt.
“Unless they play two-hand touch,” Hebert said Monday.
The NFL has no statistical data that break down injuries by position, but every year at least a few of the league’s star passers are sidelined for extended periods because of the physical nature of the game.
Take last year, Week 7. The NFL injury report—which lists moderate and major injuries—had nine starting quarterbacks on it, with five of them missing significant time: St. Louis’ Kurt Warner, Carolina’s Rodney Peete, Washington’s Danny Wuerffel, Jay Fielder of Miami and Cleveland’s Kelly Holcomb. The Falcons’ Mike Vick, with shoulder troubles, was on the list, too, but he played against Carolina.
—Curtis Bunn, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ”‘It’s Rough Out There’—Quarterbacks Are Targets, No Matter How Protected”