NFL Injuries with Mr Carlos Cobiella

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Treating NFL Injuries – Mr Carlos Cobiella

It’s been 10 years since the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants first graced the field of Wembley for the NFL International Series in 2007. Since then the sport has grown exponentially in the UK with as many as four games per year now being played between Wembley and Twickenham respectively. On Sunday 22nd October the Los Angeles Rams host the Arizona Cardinals at Twickenham in the third game of the NFL International Series this year.

In anticipation of the game we caught up with specialist Orthopaedic Consultant, Mr Carlos Cobiella. who forms part of our expert Orthopaedic Clinic, The Shoulder Unit. He has been part of the medical team providing cover for the NFL International Series since they first started in London. Mr Cobiella shares his gameday experiences as well as the different types of NFL injuries suffered by players.

Tell us about your background and your experience in working with the NFL?

I have been part of the medical team providing cover for the NFL International Series since they first started in London in 2007. I attend the games whenever they come over, which is four times this year and increasing.

Are you at the stadium on game day and if so what is your involvement with the players or team officials?

On game day I am at the stadium, pitch side, as part of the medical team that is looking after the players, on the field and on the sideline.

What common injuries of the upper limbs do NFL players tend to suffer?

American football is a collision sport. We commonly see joint injuries of the knee, shoulder, ankles, fingers. The ones we are more concerned about, and are fortunately rarer, are spinal injuries and concussion.

Do injuries NFL players sustain differ from that of Rugby players?

They are different. They wear protection, body armour and helmets. Over time their playing style has evolved to use these protections as offensive weapons. This means the rate of concussion is much higher. This is at the moment the object of great media attention and controversy. The rules are changing to prevent long-lasting effects from NFL injuries.

With players only in London for a limited period of time how does this impact on the treatment they receive?

It means we provide emergency treatment for the urgent injuries, joint dislocations and serious fractures. Most of the injured players will fly back and have treatment back home. This is common practice for them, even within the US, as the away games can be across the continent.

With teams and players desperate to avoid injury, do you have any recommendations on how to minimise chances of injury to the upper limb?

I’m afraid that the only way to prevent NFL injuries is to stop playing! There are ways of reducing the frequency of injuries, by rotating players and treating early. However, the players don’t have season contracts and won’t earn unless they play. This makes it difficult to implement.

Do upper limb injuries tend to be more common for players in certain positions in the NFL such as Quarterback or Wide Receiver?

Players will have a very specific role within the team, offensive, defensive, receivers, kickers, etc. However, injuries commonly happen from impact in all positions and are therefore quite similar. The quarterback in general is well protected, both by their teammates and by the rules.

Finally, who is your favourite NFL team?

I always enjoy the game on the day and think that all of the teams exhibit an amazing degree of commitment and professionalism. I have noticed that the spectators come to see the game rather than a specific team and it’s not surprising. It’s a great show!

Book A Consultation With Mr Cobiella

At the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth Mr Carlos Cobiella forms part of our specialist Orthopaedic Clinic, The Shoulder Unit. They provide specialist treatment for sports injuries and patients suffering with shoulder and elbow pain. To learn more about the Shoulder Unit or book a consultation you can call us on 020 7806 4004 or email us at

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