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The NFL Combine- What You Need to Know

Football player

While football season may be over, tone of the NFL’s biggest events of the offseason takes place next week! The NFL Scouting Combine next week with the hopes of making a positive impression in front NFL coaches, owners and front office personnel. HSS (Hospital for Special Surgery) is proud to partner with many of the athletes performing at the combine to help prepare them for this rigorous event and their future careers.

What is the NFL combine?
This is an event designed to test and evaluate the skills, fitness, and form of a player in their specific sport. The NFL Scouting Combine can be thought of as a dress rehearsal and an interview for the NFL, and includes a large medical and interview component. Each athlete is taken through specific battery of tests based on their position.  Some of these tests include the 40-yard dash, bench press, 3-cone drill, shuttle run, vertical and broad jump, passing and catching drills, and isokinetic testing, among others. These tests are then used by teams to help determine which players they may want to select in April’s NFL Draft.

How do athletes prepare for the combine?

Many NCAA athletes choose to attend programs designed to help them prepare for the combine. The program includes six-to-eight weeks of training with a multidisciplinary team, which HSS is proud to be a part of. Our initial point of entry when working with an athlete is to perform a musculoskeletal assessment and functional testing, to provide focal points to the rest of the team, identify any potential limitations, and help with any injuries they may have so that they can present themselves at their best when it comes time to head to Indianapolis.

Who attends?
The NFL Combine is by invitation only based on who the NFL Selection Committee determines has the appropriate eligibility. Players must be three years out of high school and have declared themselves for the draft. Collegiate football players are generally eligible in their senior year, but underclassmen and graduates who have not used up their college eligibility may qualify with special permission from the league. In addition, players who are not on a college football team but who have reached the year in which they would have been eligible for the draft may enter as well.

Final Thoughts

These combines are a rigorous, often stressful process for athletes, and can have a significant effect on the course of their careers. HSS is honored to work with many of these athletes on their journeys and wish them all the very best.



Matthew Morgan is a physical therapist, certified athletic trainer, and sports certified specialist. Throughout his career has worked with a wide range of athletes, from Little League age to professionals to senior athletes. His clinical interests include both corrective exercises and manual therapy.




Jorge-Giral-200-240Jorge Giral is a doctor of physical therapy, sports certified specialist, certified orthopedic manual therapist, certified strength and conditioning specialist. Jorge completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Miami in which he work closely with the school’s Division I athletic program as a student-athletic trainer for football, men’s basketball and baseball. His clinical interests include the application of manual therapy techniques to surgical and non-surgical rehabilitation, athlete screening and injury prevention. 

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.