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). It also should be noted that due to the league not disclosing actual injuries until Friday night there may be some added to next weeks numbers.
It is official, every team in the League has now reported a regular season concussion. This is the earliest in a season this has occurred, which is a good thing, in my opinion. In the past three years there seemed to be at least one team that had not reported a concussion all the way until Week 15 or later. There have been cases of a team not reporting a single concussion during the entire season. Knowing what we know about concussions, with the information from players over the years this would seem almost impossible. The injury of concussion is going to occur in football, why be scared of it. Just deal with it properly when one is identified. That brings me to my next rant of the week, Wes Welker.
As we watched on Sunday night, Welker took a shot as he was going to the ground and the ball came lose. It was postulated that he lost consciousness (it will never be readily admitted to) and was subsequently evaluated on the field. The Broncos say at that time he was evaluated for a neck injury, which is very plausible. If the med staff didn’t see the mechanism or sudden results they can only go off what the player was telling them at that moment. He returned the next series for one play and was finally removed for concussion. The question is what transpired in that roughly seven minute time. Possibly the NFL booth observer could have radioed down to take a look. If that were the case then this communication needs to happen quicker. Possibly Welker himself realized something was amiss and alerted sideline personnel. If that were the case then delayed symptoms could be to blame, or finally he had some wherewithal in that moment, or the sideline personnel had the chance to interview other sideline people and get the whole picture. There is a lot we don’t know and won’t know during that time frame. The ultimate good thing was that he was removed and classified as a concussion. In defense of the athletic trainers and docs, I have seen/been part of many cases where delayed reporting happens. It sucks that I miss them, but it happens, it is the nature of the beast here. Concussions are primarily subjective, in the case of Welker, it should have been spotted that he was incapacitated during the hit. But even trained eyes can be blocked out by other players on the field.
As of yesterday it was reported that he had cleared his baseline test on Monday and was cleared to participate in contact drills today. This makes sense in the accelerated step-wise return to play that the NFL seems to be using. Even from the standpoint of Zürich, it is within tolerance; Step 1 (walking 20 min) – Monday, Step 2 (jogging 20 min) – Tuesday (although the NFL seems to be doing 1 and 2 on the same day), Step 3 (sport specific drills x minimum 20 min.) – Wednesday, Step 4 (non-contact practice) – Thursday, and Step 5 (full contact) – Friday. From the management standpoint it appears the Broncos and Welker are handling this better than most, which is appreciated.
I would like to note that this accelerated timetable is not common for younger athletes, typically symptoms persist after injury longer than 24 hours, and in order to get to Step 1 all symptoms must be cleared. Also with typical Friday night games at the high school level, the above return to play would not allow them to suit up for a game, as the last step would fall on game day, that would preclude them from being fully cleared. What I am trying to say is that the NFL model will not and should not be applied to any athlete outside of professional sports.
Now that we are done with the rants for the week here are your Week 11 numbers (previous week);
- 10 concussions/head injuries found from Week 6 (11)
- 88 regular season concussions noted (78)
- 142 total concussions in 2013 (132)
- 8.00 Concussions/week (7.80)
- 136 Projected Concussions (132)
- 0.53 Concussions/game (.52)
- 9.24% InR (9.01)
- 8.02% EInR (7.82)
Running Totals for Regular Season:
- 45 Offensive (39) – 43 Defense (39)
- Positionally Speaking
- QB – 3 (3), RB – 8 (7), TE – 9 (8), WR – 14 (11), OL – 11 (10), DL – 7 (7), LB – 11 (10), DB – 25 (22)
- Team Breakdown
- JAX – 8
- NYJ – 6
- PIT, SD, WAS – 5
- MIN, NO, SEA, SF – 4
- DET, GB, HOU, OAK, TB, TEN – 3
- CAR, CIN, DAL, DEN, IND, KC, NE, PHI – 2
- ARI, ATL, BAL, BUF, CHI, CLE, MIA, NYG, STL – 1
- none – 0
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.
- Comparing to past seasons the following has been found after Week 11: # (2012, 2011, 2010):
- Regular Season Concussions – 88 (109, 107, 101)