Fans react to Aaron Rodgers injury; doctor explains how it could happen to anyone

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) is tended to on the field during the first quarter...
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) is tended to on the field during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J.(Seth Wenig | AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 10:18 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - America watched as Aaron Rodgers suffered a season ending injury on Monday Night Football.

“It was like, shocking. I sat there with my jaw down for, like, five minutes and didn’t even know what to think,” said Travis Ripplinger, a New York Jets fan from Eau Claire. He made the switch from the Green Bay Packers when Brett Favre did years ago.

Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh announced Tuesday the former Packer suffered a torn left Achilles tendon, resulting in Rodgers having to undergo surgery.

Dr. Doug Bartels is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with Mayo Clinic Health System who explained, this injury can happen to anyone.

“So someone is firing their calf muscle and instead of pushing off with the leg, the ankle goes the opposite direction. The more severe injuries are when you fully can rip the tendon or rip the tendon off of the bone or rip the tendon kind of in half, essentially,” said Dr. Bartels. “People describe it as feeling like a gunshot to the back of the leg.”

He said the high profile athletes undergo imaging, like Rodgers did with getting an MRI, to reveal the severity of a torn Achilles tendon.

“But oftentimes it can be clinically diagnosed just from sometimes noticing a deformity or a gap where that Achilles tendon used to be,” said Dr. Bartels.

The surgery is a recommended course of action for athletes, but not necessary for anyone not in that world suffering the same injury.

“Nonprofessional athletes, not high level athletes, kind of the weekend warrior types, there’s not an absolute indication to fixing an Achilles tendon tear all the time. Sometimes we do treat these without surgery,” said Dr. Bartels. He said patients would undergo physical therapy and even be given a boot to wear to help heal the injury.

Kevin Zallar is a football fan who experienced a similar injury.

“I had strained mine, and I had a lot of trouble at work for a couple of weeks with it. It was extremely painful,” said Zaller.

Ripplinger is hopeful for the Jets, despite them losing their main QB.

“He may be injured. He’s still going to be on the bench. He’s still going to be a mentor for Zach Wilson. The future is bright and hope for a speedy recovery. He did say he was playing 2 to 3 years, so who knows what next year could bring,” said Ripplinger.

Other fans though, feel bad for the Packers Hall of Famer who’s much anticipated season was cut so short.

“Unfortunately you know, the older you get, like you’re going to have injuries like that, but hopefully this one is not the season or like his retirement party,” said Scott Wasieleski. “My biggest thing, I feel bad for him because of what transpired from leaving the Packers to go to the Jets, and then this happened.”

“It’s a shame that it happened. I know that there’s aspects of the trade deal that are going to be a factor,” said Zallar.