J.J. Watt and How Herniated Discs Can Reoccur [2019 Update]

Interior of the Houston Texans Stadium

An almost audible groan rose from the plains of Texas when Bill O’Brien, head coach of the Texans NFL team, told reporters that their three-time defensive end of the year, J.J. Watt, would be out the rest of the season due to necessary surgery on a herniated disc in his back.

Herniated discs can occur in athletes who engage in contact sports, like football, where repetitive stress is put onto the discs in the spine.

J.J. Watt is not the first professional athlete to suffer from a herniated disc, nor will he be the last. As a matter of fact, one study found that between 1979 and 2013, 53 NFL players underwent surgery for a herniated disc.1

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