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 list of players along with relevant statistics. If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know.
With the end of the regular season we can begin to see a clearer picture of what kind of concussion numbers the NFL produces. There have been a lot of adjustments made by the NFL and this blog to try and capture where we are exactly, in terms of a problem. Along the way we started with only using the NFL Official Injury Report (OIR) to ascertain the concussions. This effort had good intentions, but also showed the naive nature that most have with this or any injury in professional sports. The OIR is only used for players that “may or may not” play in the game, and on top of it, a player going on Injured Reserve is not listed, so there could be some missed situations on this list alone. Through feedback from readers, including Will Carroll, we adopted a method of searching and sources to find as many concussions as possible.
That brings us to where we are now, a listing that I feel is incomplete, but as close as humanly possible for a person to get (that don’t have access to inside info). Heck, I don’t even know if the NFL has a concussion listing database that it may be working from. If not, that might be a good idea for them. The biggest issue of unreported concussions is the player that sustains a head injury in a game on Sunday and the team keeps it quiet until the last minute. Some players will resolve before the OIR is due, therefore that case would be unreported, and very few team reporters caught on to this until late in the season. By then, the sleuths that they are started asking questions after a game and were getting answers, and we found them. This still does not solve the Week 17 issue, where teams not playing flew completely under the radar. If it was not reported in the “in-game” report then the injury did not appear anywhere, and with teams breaking camp, no follow-up was needed, and some issues, I am sure, went unreported.
Needless to say, the list and statistics we have (which are not “scientific”) are the best observational data you can find on the 2010 NFL season as it relates to concussions. Before presenting the end of the regular season statistics I would like to thank all that helped in identifying concussions, including Senior Researcher and Editor here; Mike Lutz. Now for the statistics;
Regular Season Concussions/Head Injuries
- 159 Total (153 W17)
- 9.35 Concussions/Week (9.56 W17)
- 0.62 Concussions/Game (.64 W17)
- 15.06% Incidence Rate (Concussions/33 players per team O, D, ST) (15.39% W17)
- 9.38% Epidemiological Incidence (Concussions/53 man roster of league) (9.59% W17)
Running Total Since Training Camp
- 167 Total
- 12 Players to IR
- Concussions per Team
- 0 = Tampa Bay
- 1 = San Diego
- 2 = Houston, Buffalo
- 3 = Miami, Jets, Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver
- 4 = San Francisco, Kansas City, Giants
- 5 = Tennessee, New England, Jacksonville, Green Bay
- 6 = Indianapolis, Arizona, Washington, New Orleans
- 7 = Dallas, Pittsburgh
- 8 = Baltimore, Seattle, Minnesota, Detroit, Oakland, Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis
- 10 = Carolina
- Concussions by “general” Position
- QB = 11
- RB = 12
- TE = 15
- WR = 28
- OL = 15
- Offense = 81 (48.5%)
- DL = 17
- LB = 25
- DB = 44
- Defense = 86 (51.5%)
Some observations about the concussions that I noticed; There were a high number of concussions due to special teams play…I wish we could have tracked that… The offensive lineman started getting more concussions as the season wore on, possibly due to the cumulative effects of sub-concussive forces… .The return-to-play guidelines for the NFL have a huge loophole in them, but the efforts were better and at least documentation was better this year… The media and announcers began to take this issue serious the networks even did a good job of starting to scratch the surface…
Or should I say my feelings on this year? We will obviously see an increase in the number of concussions compared to previous years, however this is due to many factors, the biggest of which is the attention and coverage of such injuries. A secondary factor may be that the athlete is getting bigger, faster and stronger, allowing for more velocity at impact, creating more force. Another factor that needs to be highlighted is the awareness of the player, and understanding the seriousness of a concussion. This helps some of those injuries from becoming unreported.
There needs to be a concussion database that the NFL has that MUST report all head injuries, that will list the position, type of situation (O/D or special teams), the helmet model used, reported symptoms at game and 24-48-72 hours post, and the neurocognitive results. This information does not have to be publicized every week, but it does need to get in the hands of an independent party to compile the data, and teams MUST report all concussions. Being transparent will only help figure out a way to better educate the “lower” levels about this injury.
I believe this to be OBVIOUS; different helmets need to be made for different positions. The types of injuries sustained, in terms of forces, varies based upon the position, likewise the protection for each position as it relates to the head should be different.
The statement by the NFL to increase fines for helmet-to-helmet contact did little to slow down the rate of injury as compared to the first part of the season. This however does not mean it didn’t help, as there could have very well been ‘x’ more concussions had this decree not been in place. What is needed is that officials and NFL administration need to tighten down the rules already in place, flag it more, and develop some punishment for the offensive player who drops his head as well.
We will continue to track this through the playoffs, but again we will have the problem of the eliminated teams not reporting the injury, so we are hopeful the local media will be able to log this information for us to capture. When the season begins next year, we should be a few steps ahead of where we are now in both concussion awareness and data collection, allowing for a better season.
Again, thanks to all that helped with this project for the past 17 weeks, it goes pretty much without saying, none of it was possible without you, the reader. Feel free to comment with your observations and conclusions…