The Exuberant Figures that Sports Leagues Spend on Injured Players

The different sports leagues in the world spend millions of dollars a year on players who never see the field of play. We tell you about these figures in different scenarios .

Injured player on the field

Photo: Adobe Stock

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

Listen to this article

Leer en español: Las exhuberantes cifras que gastan las ligas deportivas en jugadores lesionados

When a footballer is injured, he does not stop receiving his salary. This can become a major headache for clubs, who must fork out money despite not receiving the media attention generated by a player's presence on the field of play, nor the results of his talent on the pitch.

The cases of footballers who seem to "live" injured are already famous, such as the case of Gareth Bale or that of Neymar himself. Bale, in particular, cost Real Madrid a millionaire, as he was chronically injured, and it is estimated that he missed more than 100 games with the merengue team. In the 2021/2022 season alone, he missed more than 30 games while still receiving his salary of 600,000 euros a week.

However, this is not a problem exclusive to the world of football. In the world of sports, injuries are the daily bread. For every Gareth Bale, there is a player who legitimately deserves to continue to receive his salary for everyday he is out due to injury. Next, we want to show you how much different sports leagues spend on the salaries of their injured athletes.


In 2018, the NBA spent an estimated $125 million paying for injured players. In the 2021 season, 411 players spent time injured, a record number for the league. It is worth mentioning the case of Kawhi Leonard, who spent 82 days with a knee injury and received $38,892,640 in compensation.


In 2021, the MLB spent $871,000,000 paying the salaries of injured players. Although baseball may seem like a relatively safe sport, injuries abound in the MLB. Mind you, it's not just “real” injuries that are prevalent in this league. Teams sometimes require players to “fake” an injury, so they can be traded for a lower market value or to give them justification to rest for a long MLB season.

Also read: Gallery: Top Scorers in Colombian Soccer


The NFL also spends an enormous amount of money on “dead wages.” In 2021, the American Football League is estimated to have spent a total of $434 million paying for injured players. This, on average, is a total of 13-odd million dollars per team. The team that spent the most money on injured players was the New York Jets, who spent an estimated $28.7 million. The New York franchise used this money to pay for the salary of injured key offensive players, such as Corey Davis and Elijah Riley.

Premier League

In the best football in the world, there were 2,524 injuries in the first half of the 2021/22 season, costing clubs approximately €279.49 million. This March 2022, it was revealed that the first half of the season cost Premier teams €90 million. In the latter case, Chelsea is the team for which injuries have cost the most, as they have paid 13.6 million euros to injured players.