Life at the NFL Combine – 2012

It’s NFL combine time and the excitement here in Indy has never been better.  With Super Bowl memories still alive in the host city and hundreds of future NFL star players in town, the upcoming 2012 NFL season gives everyone good reason to be optimistic.

“What Do the Players Really Do at the Combine?

Answer:  They interview for a career that will pay them millions of dollars playing a game.

That “interview” is much different than the one that most new college graduates prepare for each year.  These former collegiate stars are put through a series of test stations that start at 5 AM and include the following tests:

  • Body Measurements
  • Neuropsych baseline testing
  • Complete orthopedic & internal medical examinations
  • Special medical tested – as needed
  • Wonderlic Test – to assess learning and problem solving skills.
  • Isokinetic lower extremity testing
  • Personal interview
  • Bench press
  • 40 yard dash
  • Vertical jump
  • Broad jump
  • 3 Cone drill
  • 60 yard shuttle run
  • Position-specific drills

How Tough Can it Be?

I’ll tell you right now; the Combine is tough on these players!  It’s a stressful and physically demanding endeavor for these young men to complete.  They all know it’s a necessary hurdle if they want to make professional football a career.

I see it every year and, while the names change, the attitude of competition and determination remains the same for the football players that succeed at the Combine.

These tough guys come in here with a lot of confidence and they want to show the world how good they really are.  They are willing to accept the boredom of the lonely MRI at 11 PM, the pains of dozens of pokes of the doctor examinations and the tedious questions from the coaches during the interviews just to get on that field.  The field is their “happy place” is where they will shine and bring that childhood dream to a whole new level.

Surprises: Both Good & Bad

I enjoy being a part of this NFL Draft selection process in an effort to make this amazing league stronger.  With new players for next year’s rosters, I get to see tomorrow’s superstars today.

The value of some of the players that we examine over the next 2 days will rise while others will fall.  Who’s faster than expected?  Who’s shorter than their college media guide said they were?  Whose knee is stronger than expected?

The Bottom Line on the NFL Combine

My main responsibility at the Combine is to oversee all medical issues related to the medical grading of every player we examine.  I have an outstanding medical staff with me that work very hard for the Jaguars.  Our medical team here at the Combine consists of certified athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons, internal medicine physicians and a radiologist.  They are all my VIP’s and I greatly value their input as we all work together to put one (1) overall medical grade on each and every player.

With all the high-tech testing and labor intensive evaluating of these players, there is one common objective that all 32 teams have: “Who will help me win games?”  That’s it.  There is no room on the scoreboard for style points or points for “potential”.

How hard can it be?

Author: Mike Ryan

After 26 seasons as a full-time certified athletic trainer and registered physical therapist in the National Football League, Mike Ryan has outstanding first-hand experience. His unique professional and athletic background has sharpened his skills in the arts of sports injury management, elite rehabilitation, performance enhancement and injury prevention. Mike is now taking his experience to mainstream America. His mission is simple: Sports Medicine advice that is easy to use and brings fast results. Learn more about Mike Ryan

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