2012 Concussion Report – End of Regular Season

10 Jan

The Concussion Blog Original, NFL Concussion Report, is a weekly compiling of the reported head injuries in the National Football League.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you the reader a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).

This season was not unlike many NFL seasons before; many story lines (Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson), surprises (Seattle), the youth of the league (Crazy good Rookies) and of course the injuries.  The freshest being the knee injury of Robert Griffin III and his subsequent surgery.  For the second straight year the concussion was the most talked about injury in the league and rightly so.  As much as a league has said it is changing, currently it is not, could have actually copied and pasted pretty much the entire 2011 season wrap up and it would be suffice for 2012.

I like to look back at the suggestions I made at the end of 2011 and see if any of it was addressed, and I can say; kind of.  I proposed six different ideas for the league to address and two were actually adhered to, while three of them were brushed upon and one was not even addressed.

The two proposals I feel the league addressed was limiting contact in practice and enforcing rules that are already on the books.  Naturally, the later was controversial in almost every game; it seemed at some point there would be a receiver getting hammered and a flag flying for contact to the head.  Of all the penalties I saw this past year only about 15% of them were incorrect (Vernon Davis hit is one that sticks out).  That being said the officials are getting the vast majority correct, and I am here to tell you its not easy trying to adjudicate when athletes are literally flying around you.

The NFL basically played lip service to the proposals dealing with; an official concussion database, promotion of proper management and helmets.  The last subject is more about removing the old style helmets from the league: Riddell VSR4, Schutt AiR Advantage and Adams helmets.  I will say that there were way, way, way less of those on the field this year.  The tricky thing about helmets is that a database on what is being worn does not exist either (odd [/sarcasm]), but from just watching it seemed many players had switched it up a bit to more recent technology.  Probably the most farcical of these proposals touched on was the use of USA Football and NFL players to “promote safety” in commercials.  Although it brought attention to how coaches have safety first in mind it did NOTHING to address concussion management and really how to properly handle this injury.  Listen folks its not that hard and it wouldn’t cause a panic for the “football mom’s”, rather it may make them more secure knowing about proper management; add to that the NFL can plainly and overtly state that because they are professional ADULTS they may treat concussions differently, but the correct way is ‘X’.

The untouched proposal will once again be #1 on our proposal list for this year.  How bout we move to the stats from the regular season, following the regular season numbers are the total numbers.  Getting information in the postseason is worse than getting information from rivals during the Cold War.  I am confident the NFL now has all that monitored, just make it public.

On to the stats through Week 17 (2011, 2010);

  • 189 Concussions/head injuries (171, 159)
  • 11.12 Concussions/week (10.05, 9.35)
  • 0.74 Concussions/game (0.67, 0.62)
  • 13.13% InR (11.88, 11.04)
  • 11.14% EInR (10.08, 9.38)
  • 106 Offensive (89, 78) – 83 Defense (82, 81)
  • Positionally Speaking
    • QB – 8 (7, 11), RB – 19 (16, 10), TE – 23 (20, 14), WR – 30 (22, 28), OL – 26 (24, 15), DL – 16 (16, 17), LB – 22 (20, 23), DB – 45 (46, 41)
  • Team Breakdown
    • OAK – 14 (11, 7)
    • CLE – 10 (10, 8)
    • JAX -9 (5, 5)
    • NYJ – 9 (4, 3)
    • DAL – 8 (2, 6)
    • DET – 8 (8, 8)
    • IND – 8 (6, 5)
    • KC – 8 (4, 4)
    • WAS – 8 (2, 6)
    • BAL – 7 (10, 8)
    • PHI – 7 (7,8)
    • GB – 6 (6, 4)
    • PIT – 6 (4, 7)
    • SF – 6 (6, 4)
    • STL – 6 (8, 8)
    • TEN – 6 (7, 5)
    • CHI – 5 (3, 3)
    • DEN – 5 (6, 3)
    • MIA – 5 (2, 3)
    • MIN – 5 (9, 8)
    • NE – 5 (5, 5)
    • TB – 5 (5, 0)
    • ARI – 4 (3, 6)
    • CAR – 4 (9, 10)
    • CIN – 4 (0, 2)
    • NO – 4 (3, 6)
    • NYG – 4 (5, 3)
    • SEA – 4 (9, 7)
    • BUF – 3 (1, 2)
    • ATL – 2 (5, 3)
    • HOU – 2 (0, 1)
    • SD – 2 (6, 1)

Our definition of Incidence Rate (InR) is projected concussions/45 players taking the field per team per game, our definition of Epidemiological Incidence Rate (EInR) is projected concussions/53 man roster per team.

==========

The following numbers are all concussions from preseason through the regular season (237), comparing to last two years (2011, 2010 in parenthesis);

  • 217 Total (217, 167)
  • 8 Players to IR (12, 12)
  • Concussions per Team
    • OAK – 15 (13, 8)
    • JAX -13 (9, 5)
    • NYJ – 12 (6, 3)
    • CLE – 11 (12, 9)
    • GB – 11 (9,5)
    • DAL – 10 (4, 7)
    • DET – 10 (9, 8)
    • PHI – 10 (7,8)
    • IND – 9 (6, 6)
    • KC – 9 (5, 4)
    • BAL – 8 (11, 8)
    • CAR – 8 (11, 10)
    • MIN – 8 (11, 8)
    • TEN – 8 (7, 5)
    • WAS – 8 (5, 6)
    • CIN – 7 (0, 3)
    • DEN – 7 (7, 3)
    • PIT – 7 (5, 7)
    • NE – 6 (7, 5)
    • SF – 6 (6, 4)
    • STL – 6 (11, 8)
    • TB – 6 (5, 0)
    • ATL – 5 (7, 3)
    • CHI – 5 (5, 3)
    • MIA – 5 (2, 3)
    • SEA – 5 (10, 8)
    • ARI – 4 (3, 6)
    • NO – 4 (3, 6)
    • NYG – 4 (5, 3)
    • BUF – 3 (4, 2)
    • HOU – 3 (5, 2)
    • SD – 3 (7, 1)
  • Concussions by “general” Position
    • QB = 8 (9, 11)
    • RB = 26 (27, 12)
    • TE = 30 (23, 15)
    • WR = 35 (29, 28)
    • OL = 33 (29, 15)
      • Offense = 132 – 55.7% (117 – 53.9%, 81 – 48.5%)
    • DL = 22 (20, 17)
    • LB = 26 (27, 25)
    • DB = 57 (53, 44)
      • Defense = 105 – 44.3% (100 – 46.1%, 86 – 51.5%)

Other notes: No injuries were classified as concussions due to the Fink Rule…  17 players sustained at least two concussions this year (down one from last year)…  We identified 158 helmets of the 237 players…  Helmet break down of concussions: Riddell 50.00%, Schutt 41.77%, Rawlings 5.70%, Xenith 1.90%, Simpson 0.63%…  With the helmet information it is important to know we do not have a helmet database to compare this to…  If you break it down by models (again no position specific information on helmets so it makes a difference) Shutt AiR XP 34.18%, Riddell RevoSpeed 32.91%, Riddell Revolution 10.13%, Schutt AiR Advantage (OLD HELMET) 6.96%, Riddell VSR4 (OLD HELMET) 6.33%, Rawlings Quantum 5.70%, Xenith X2 1.90%, Riddell 360 0.63%, Schutt Ion 0.63%, Simpson 0.63%, Schutt DNA 0.00%, and Schutt Vengeance 0.00%…  It is also important to notice I did see every helmet on the field this year, in fact I saw more Vengeance helmets than 360 helmets and Simpson helmets…

==========

CONCLUSIONS/PROPOSALS

The number is not that surprising, the trend of it continuing to increase is a bit of a surprise.  I fear that with the case of Alex Smith that players will be less honest about the injury and be even more hesitant to report the injury.  As for the “eye-in-the-sky” employed by the league it is unknown if that mechanism caught a concussion; what is evident is that the teams are getting better at finding/reporting them.  Again there seems to be an issue with positions in the NFL, with DB’s, TE’s and OL on the top of the list; addressing this should be a priority.  The steps taken to reduce hitting in practices I believe is effective, although it does not show in the numbers.  The rule changes to the kick off also have been fruitful for a second straight season, however this leads to what I believe is the crux of the issue: speed and size.  As the player gets faster and stronger the hits are more f0rceful creating this injury.  Remember that this game was designed in the1800′s for men much smaller and slower.  The athlete has evolved so should the game, no matter how uncomfortable it is for the fan.

As tradition has it I make some proposals going forward, that I believe will help;

  1. (REPEAT FROM 2011) Create a truly independent think tank.  This think tank should be composed of various types of people and ones that are not concerned about what they find or say.  Just like taking a band-aid off, this group would be good at getting the necessary information and providing recommendations no matter how critical or imposing they may seem.  Their information should be transparent and thorough.  I believe this group should be composed of the following 20 people: 4 independent researchers, 2 independent neuropsychologists, 2 independent physicians, 2 psychologists, 1 active NFL athletic trainer, 1 college athletic trainer, 1 high school athletic trainer, 2 media personalities, 2 active NFL players, 2 former NFL players.
  2. Make available the internal injury database for concussion, we know they have it.
  3. Ban the VSR4, Schutt AiR Advantage and Adams helmets.
  4. Instead of just playing lip service to the concussion issue the NFL should be upfront with its fans, players, owners and coaches.  Support research and ideas that limit exposure to players and the youth of the game.
  5. Concussions should be AT A BARE MINIMUM a 10 day injury, you miss one game no questions asked.
  6. Make injury designation slots on the roster, not unlike the IR that can return, that address concussed players.  It should have 4 spots and if you go on the “concussion reserved list” you miss a minimum of 2 weeks – longer than 6 weeks transferred to IR.  This would then expand the roster to 57.
  7. Provide incentive for players to be honest about the injury.  Starters and established players have this luxury, but the “fringe” players do not, it must be equal.

We will continue to track what concussions we can find in the post season, it is rather difficult.  You can follow @nflconcussions or the PBS Concussion Watch as well.

I would like to thank everyone that has helped in the data collection and crunching of stats.  Although we feel this is a VERY GOOD data set, it is far from 100% correct there are still limitations.  Again, we do think this is the most comprehensive and correct number associated with concussions in the NFL at this time.

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2 Responses to “2012 Concussion Report – End of Regular Season”

  1. George Visger January 11, 2013 at 18:29 #

    Here is what happens when they don’t address concussions as serious.

    KVIE Channel 6 Sidelined: Concussions In Sports 12/19/12
    http://vids.kvie.org/video/2318744182

  2. George Visger January 11, 2013 at 18:31 #

    Even after my 9 NFL caused brain surgeries, I’m doing better than my 49er room mate Terry Tuatolo.
    Channel 13 News Sacramento 10/29/12 Terry Tuatolo interview
    http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/video/7898539-former-nfl-linebacker-falls-into-homelessness/

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