The science behind the NFL's toughest turnaround
Now that the NFL has a full slate of Thursday games, how hard is it for football players to recover and play on three days’ rest instead of six?
The drive to improve recovery isn’t unique to the NFL, as teams and individual athletes have realized that recovery is an integral part of success. “Recovery is important for all athletes, but because football is such a high contact, physical sport, a consistent dedication to proper and efficient recovery is crucial,” says Gilad Jacobs, CEO of NormaTec. NFL teams use technologies like NormaTec to treat acute and chronic swelling, reduce pain and soreness, and as a rehabilitation device if they are injured.
The impact of the Thursday game is likely greater for some teams more than others. “As with many sports science factors, game context is king,” says Connolly, “Early or late in the season, the score of the previous game, and travel are all factors that can influence recovery and readiness.”