Chargers hire new head athletic trainer from one of NFL's most injured teams

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In classic LA Chargers fashion, the team was decimated with injuries during the 2022 season that ultimately kept the Bolts from reaching their full potential. Granted, LA was still able to win 10 games and make the playoffs but it could have been a much better season with better injury luck.

This has become a trend for the Chargers and it finally led the team to go in a different direction with the training staff. Los Angeles fired long-time head trainer Damon Mitchell with a replacement not immediately being announced.

Nearly four months after firing Mitchell the Chargers announced the new additions to the training staff. Marco Zucconi was promoted from associate athletic trainer to Director of Player Health and Performance and Sal Lopez was hired from the Tennessee Titans to be the new head athletic trainer.

While this is the kind of change that fans have have been begging for, the optics of signing Lopez from the Titans is not great considering the injury-plagued season Tennessee just had. In fact, the Titans were the second-most injured team in the league (in terms of Adjusted Games Lost), even beating out the Chargers.

Justin Herbert sticking it out and playing through his injuries helped the Chargers' ranking in AGL. But when it came to WAR lost last season, the Bolts ranked among the worst in the league. Unfortunately, so did the Titans.

Chargers hiring Sal Lopez from Titans isn't all bad news

While it is easy to look at the bad injury luck that the Titans had last season and think that this hire is more of the same for the Chargers, it is important to look at the grander picture of the Titans' health in recent years.

In 2021 the Titans were the sixth-healthiest team, in 2020 they were the 12th-healthiest team (not counting games missed due to covid-19), in 2019 they were the third-healthiest team and in 2018 they were the 11th-healthiest team. The 2022 season really was a fluke.

Plus, one head athletic trainer is not going to change much in either direction. Injuries are mostly bad luck but there are organizational things that can be improved to help sway the luck in the Chargers' favor. As long as there are more resources being poured into staying healthy then good things will happen. That seems to be the case heading into the 2023 season.