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Optimum Performance: An NFL player’s injuries can affect his value to a team

After the 2008 stock market crash, many stockholders began unloading underperforming or damaged assets from their investment portfolios. One such financial example is Bank of America, which in 2011 said “has seen the value of its stock decline by 54 percent since the start of 2011.” “From a fundamental standpoint,” noted Gerard Plauche, a chartered financial analyst and partner at Delta Financial Advisors in New Orleans, “We analyze a company to determine the reasons for the downturn in the stock’s performance.” Said Plauche: “If it is a short term issue, then it would warrant holding or adding to the position. If not, it should be sold and replaced with a stock that has better potential.”

Does each NFL team — with an investment portfolio composed of 53 stocks (players on an opening-day roster) with some damaged assets (injured players) — get caught up in this same asset management philosophy? An Associated Press story last week led with, “Broken bones. Torn ligaments. Subpar performances. They all combined to sideline some of the NFL’s biggest stars a year ago.” In the NFL, it’s all about performance – today. One such case is New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski, who said, ” I was rehabbing every day, and it was miserable.” The AP story noted that Gronkowski “is still working his way back from a vicious two-year stretch in which he has had four forearm surgeries, a back injury, and torn knee ligaments.” Another notable name on the comeback trail — a shadow of his standout rookie season two years ago — is Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a Redskins’ playoff game. Griffin, up to now, has not been the same since his rookie season. Saints running back Pierre Thomas did not dress out for the preseason game against the Rams due to an unknown injury. Thomas’ stock value — based on a snapshot of his injury history and his performance statistics — will figure into a determination of his ranking on the Saints’ chief financial officer’s (CFO) balance sheet. In this scenario, Thomas is being viewed as an asset with an associated cost and risk/benefit ratio — tied to his return on investment. notes Thomas is in the final season of a three-year, $6.9 million contract. He missed 12 weeks in 2010 with an ankle injury, missed four weeks with a knee injury in 2012 and missed a playoff game with a chest injury in 2013. Plauche said “a player has to be an asset to the team, (and) as a stock needs to add value to an overall investment portfolio.” The good news for Thomas is that he returned to practice this week. Ultimately, a player will use physical fitness to reduce his risk to a “downturn.” But, an NFL team, like the Saints, will need fiscal fitness to be able to compete in the market place for high performing stocks (players). Time will tell as to which players will ultimatly answer the opening bell of the 95th NFL stock exchange on Sept. 4. Mackie Shilstone, a regular contributor to | The Times-Picayune, has been involved in the wellness sports performance industry for nearly 40 years. He is currently the fitness coach for Serena Williams, has trained numerous other professional athletes and consulted a litany of professional sports franchises. He is St. Charles Parish Hospital’s Fitness and Wellness expert. Contact him at

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