Tag Archives: NCAA Football

How Do We Know If Anything Is Working at NCAA Level?

14 Jan

In the NFL we have publicly disclosed injuries, including concussions, so we can (and have) track the numbers that are reported to see if there is a change in outcomes.  Certainly there are flaws with the reporting system as we have discussed many times but at least we can get a set of consistent numbers (we hope) from year to year.

But what about the NCAA, where there are many more players: 126 FBS teams at about 80 players per team means 10,080 players in FBS alone.  Or, about 8,387 more football players than the NFL – this number does not include FCS, DII, DIII or even the NAIA or Juco football schools.

Timothy Bella of Al Jazeera America (I guess the NSA has my IP address now and yours too if you go to links, ha) has produced a great article on this problem of tracking concussions at the NCAA level;

For this college football season, America Tonight has been tracking all the publicly reported concussions in the 10 FBS conferences and the independent teams. Auburn was one of 42 FBS programs to not publicly report a single concussion this season, accounting for exactly one-third of the 126 FBS programs. The group includes Rose Bowl and Big Ten champion Michigan State and Big 12 champion Baylor.

In fact, in the 10 conferences and the independents, coaching staffs and media outlets only reported 192 concussions at all among more than 10,000 players, according to data compiled from early August 2013 to Dec. 27, 2013, in the America Tonight Concussion Map. That’s an average of fewer than two reported concussions per team.

That number is STRIKINGLY low – due to reasons outlined in article – but 192 concussions is less than the 217 concussions we found in the NFL from preseason through the end of the regular season.

I provided many thoughts to Bella about why this may be occurring, including the teams with higher press presence Continue reading

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Please Explain

6 Nov

It is a common thought that crosses my mind when I see questionable actions around a concussion situation.  Unfortunately I don’t have the power to get the answers, so I basically post them on here for others to see.

This is not the case in Australian Rules Football; if you are team and you receive a “please explain” regarding an injury (mainly concussions) you are probably treading on thin ice.

There is a mechanism in AFL that formally puts teams and doctors on notice when things just don’t add up.  Take for example the handling of a concussion by the North Melbourne Roos;

Interim Kangaroos chief executive Cameron Vale emailed AFL operations manager Adrian Anderson on Monday after the Roos were told to respond to a ”please explain” issued by the league last week.

The Kangaroos have been under investigation over the manner in which they handled Hansen after he received a heavy knock against Essendon in round 20, and also for the way they have responded to AFL investigators Brett Clothier and Abraham Haddad in recent weeks.

The AFL has been unimpressed with the club’s handling of the issue, although the Kangaroos have bristled at suggestions football manager Donald McDonald had influenced the testimony of key figures involved.

The letter is not the first step, rather the end step in a process that allows the medical board of the AFL to investigate how the practices of player protection is put in place.  Is it oversight?  You bet and I feel that the AFL does something much-needed in all professional sports.  Really, it is only applicable to the pros because of the resources, however it could translate to large colleges as well.

In Zurich I spoke to Dr. McCrory about what they do in regards to this, here are the basics; Continue reading

College Football Concussions

24 Sep

There are times when surveying the injuries of a said sport are handy in discerning a problem or a trend, you see it every week with our data analysis of NFL concussions (also Aussie Rules Football, MLB, NBA and NHL).  One section of sport I learned early on that was difficult – at best – to track were NCAA or lower level concussions.  Not only does HIPAA prevent a lot of that information from coming out, there are so many programs/teams it’s a massive undertaking.

Ask John Gonoude, who attempted this monumental feat last year and was only able to stomach 11 weeks of it before it became an issue.  Then I was sent some articles from Matt Chaney about what has been written about college concussions recently, for a response…  Well you are going to get one.

The first article appeared in the news cycle on September 13th from The Michigan Daily;

After only two weeks of collegiate football, USA Today reported 15 concussions among injured NCAA players. In 2008, the Boston University School of Medicine released a statement linking repeated concussions to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Describing CTE as “a progressive degenerative disease of the brain,” the university connected CTE to “the development of memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, paranoid and aggressive behavior, depression, dementia and Parkinsonism.” With thirteen weeks left, the NCAA should take action to reduce the number of concussions and protect players.

The article is good for reporting the issues with concussions, speaking of long-term, but the initial sentence is what is baffling to me.  15 concussions in two weeks, that is absolutely false.  As Chaney opined that should be the number of concussions per team at the current rates.  Heck in week 11 of last year there were 19 alone and the rate of concussions per week in FBS last year through 11 weeks was 16.1/week.  There is no way the NCAA had only 15 concussions through two weeks.

The next article came out last Friday and it was in the BloombergBusinessweek;

Concussions suffered by college football players in games were 26 percent lower last year than seven years earlier, according to a study conducted for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Continue reading

2011 NCAA Football Reported-Concussion Study: Week 11

15 Nov

The Concussion Blog Original, 2011 NCAA Football Reported-Concussion Study, is a weekly compilation of reported head injuries in Division-I college football.  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.  This study recognizes that the NCAA has no mandated requirements in reporting injuries, but hopes to shed light on an issue that hasn’t received the kind of critical recognition to that of the National Football League’s.  We encourage reader involvement in contributing to this comprehensive online study.  We will be using Fink’s rule to classify a concussion/head injury.

As we all very well know, college athletics are a beloved element in our national sports culture- controversy aside.  With understanding this country-wide phenomena in the adoration of college football, specifically, we recognize this love, and sit back in our own respective comfort zones of viewing games with our friends and families cheering on our favorite programs and alma mater institutions.  College football is a significant part of our exposure to sports, but for the sake of specificity as it relates to the regards of our blog, college football has not necessarily been given much attention in consideration of the sports concussion crisis.  The purpose of this study is largely to bring forth such attention, and to generate critical questions of the standards in place as football as a whole, without secluding the focus to only that of the professional levels.  This is a hard task, mainly because of the abundance of programs at the Division-I level, but also due to the fact that the NCAA has no requirements placed on coaching staffs to report injuries sustained by players during play. Continue reading

2011 NCAA Football Reported-Concussion Study: Week 10

10 Nov

The Concussion Blog Original, 2011 NCAA Football Reported-Concussion Study, is a weekly compilation of reported head injuries in Division-I college football.  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.  This study recognizes that the NCAA has no mandated requirements in reporting injuries, but hopes to shed light on an issue that hasn’t received the kind of critical recognition to that of the National Football League’s.  We encourage reader involvement in contributing to this comprehensive online study.  We will be using Fink’s rule to classify a concussion/head injury.

As we all very well know, college athletics are a beloved element in our national sports culture- controversy aside.  With understanding this country-wide phenomena in the adoration of college football, specifically, we recognize this love, and sit back in our own respective comfort zones of viewing games with our friends and families cheering on our favorite programs and alma mater institutions.  College football is a significant part of our exposure to sports, but for the sake of specificity as it relates to the regards of our blog, college football has not necessarily been given much attention in consideration of the sports concussion crisis.  The purpose of this study is largely to bring forth such attention, and to generate critical questions of the standards in place as football as a whole, without secluding the focus to only that of the professional levels.  This is a hard task, mainly because of the abundance of programs at the Division-I level, but also due to the fact that the NCAA has no requirements placed on coaching staffs to report injuries sustained by players during play. Continue reading

NCAA Reported-Concussion Study: Entering Week 6

4 Oct

For quite some time now we have been compiling data regarding reported concussions in Division-I NCAA college football, taking note of rates of reported injury as well as the implications that such injuries have placed upon the players themselves.  As before mentioned in a post covering the absence of requirement in NCAA teams reporting injuries, we understand that this study will not be that of an exact science, but it should and will point to several issues on this subject.  The questions that we may raise from this study include inquiry on the prevalence of concussions in this level of football, how the injury is distributed amongst different age groups, how teams may or may not find purpose in not reporting concussions alongside other common injuries, how repetitive injury may impact one’s playing career, and most importantly- should the NCAA be required to report injuries?

Right now, such questions are left to debate and statistical evaluation.  Reporting concussions is analogous to reporting weakness in this level of play, and much so applies to all aspects of contact sports today.  What we have gathered through numerous resources made available online (and for that matter, it has been quite a challenge to track down concussions in the NCAA via Internet) is more so a statement to be made to the general public, for media fatigue and a lack of specialization to compartmentalize this injury aside from others has yet to be available to us.  This study intends on bringing more focus on concussions in college football, and hopefully may lead to more research-based and awareness-provoking paths.

As we enter Week 6 of the 2011-2012 NCAA college football season, here are the numbers to what we are looking at in relation to the incidents of concussions in Division-I programs… Continue reading

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