GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – As shocking as it was for many to see Aaron Rodgers suffer a season-ending injury in his first start with the New York Jets, a local doctor we talked to says an Achilles tear is a common injury. 

Fortunately, most of us don’t have to worry about getting sacked by a 250-pound defensive end and can focus on some basic strategies to avoid this injury on the playing field.  

“Having good footwear, stretching and staying at a low level of fitness and not trying to hit it really hard every couple of weeks,” said Dr. John Awowale, offering tips for athletes to avoid sports injuries.  

Awowale is an orthopedic surgeon with Aurora BayCare Medical Center. He says it’s not unusual for athletes to suffer the same type of injury that sidelined Jets’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  

“It’s a pretty common injury that we see every couple weeks come into the clinic,” Awowale said.

Unlike elite athletes who maintain a high level of fitness, however, Awowale says what he sees most often are amateur athletes who work hard and play hard too.  

“It usually occurs between the ages of 30 – 40,” Awowale explained. “Think of it as weekend warriors, people that play basketball or rec league sports on the weekends.” 

Although more common in older athletes, Awowale says young players are not immune. 

“High school athletes can have it as well,” he said.  

Awowale also says this is the type of injury you’ll likely know about when it happens.  

“Typically, when I see patients here in the clinic with that type of injury, they say they feel like someone hit them in the back of the leg with a baseball bat,” explained Awowale.  

Even if it’s not that obvious, though, Awowale says don’t ignore it.  This is not an injury you want to leave sitting on the sidelines.  

“If you notice the feeling of a large pop in your ankle or you just don’t have the strength in your ankle you had before, definitely get it checked out by your primary care doctor or urgent care,” Awowale advised.  

Awowale says trying to play through the pain or waiting for an Achilles tear to heal on its own can make treating it later more difficult.