NJ.com—February 2, 2014
It’s finally here! Super Bowl Sunday in our very own Garden State. MetLife Stadium is brimming with fans who’ve been awaiting the day the Big Game would be held on New Jersey turf. There are numerous pluses to hosting the Super Bowl, including Super Bowl Boulevard in world-renown Times Square and having NYC as a backdrop for fans who have traveled great distances. However, there are also special considerations to playing in the dome-less MetLife Stadium in the dead of winter, where players are subjected to whatever Mother Nature has to offer. I had the opportunity to hear from Dr. James Kinderknecht, a sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC, team physician for the New York Giants and host team physician for the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl features longer time-outs, halftime shows, etc... How will the players stay warm between plays and are team trainers addressing this issue?
The players will be reminded and encouraged to stay active during time outs. The benches are heated as well as having large heating units in the bench area, which is typical of all cold weather NFL games. The players are very accustomed to playing in the cold; over the course of the season, most teams experience various types of weather and therefore have some experience playing in different environments. The teams also have extensive equipment and resources to mitigate any potential adverse effects of weather. For example, uniforms and type of cleats may be adjusted based on temperature or the presence of rain or snow.
Do you expect to see anything different in regards to injury trends during the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium?
The NFL season is long, with a total of 20 games (4 preseason and 16 regular season). It is common for various injuries to accumulate over the course of the season. This can sometimes be a factor for teams that are in the playoffs at the end of the season. The extra week of between the conference championship game and the Super Bowl is helpful for recovery.
Does the NFL experience higher levels of athletic injuries during cold weather games?
The cold weather could affect performance, but outside of their extreme conditions, weather itself is unlikely to play a significant role in the players’ physical health or performance. We actually have issues with the heat, stemming from dehydration, but not the cold.
Can you discuss the medical presence at the Super Bowl?
While an average NFL football game has 27 medical staff present, the number will be closer to 35 for the Super Bowl. In addition to the Broncos and Seahawks medical staff, the NFL has requested that the host team (the Giants and Jets) send Host Team Physicians, physicians from the Jets and Giants medical teams, to the Super Bowl to help assist any injuries that should arise. Dr. Scott Rodeo (HHS Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon) and I will be there to help with orthopedic injuries and arrange care at HSS if needed.
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