2011 NCAA Football Reported-Concussion Study: Week 10

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.

This update is a statistical synopsis of what we have gathered through the pre-season and ten weeks of play at the college level.  Some incidents have found their way to the headlines, such as the struggles of Stanford WR Chris Owusu is sustained two concussions in a short period of time this season (three in just about a year, dating back to the previous season).  Our only other understanding of repetitive head injury in the NCAA would be with that of UCLA DB Alex Mascarenas.  Sadly, we have also seen Florida State WR Kenny Shaw knocked unconscious and Toledo DB Desmond Marrow carried out on a stretcher (in addition to Owusu’s incident).

In our research of reported injuries, we have also found several incidents of reporting that may raise criticism in the medical community due to the discourse used in describing a head injury.  For example, we still see the use of terms such as “mild concussion” and “concussion-like symptoms”- terms that should be associated as concussion.

10 players have been ruled “out for season” and 6 players have been forced into ‘retirement’ from the game of football.

The following statistics of reported concussions in NCAA Division-I football will be broken down into categories of conference, team, position, and academic class.  The following is what we have discovered through the first ten weeks of the season.

  • 179 reported concussions/head injuries (including the pre-season [scrimmages/practices])
  • 158 reported concussions/head injuries (during the regular season)
  • 258 projected reported concussions (including the pre-season)
  • 237 projected reported concussions (during the regular season)
  • 15.8 reported concussions per week
  • 0.27 reported concussions per game
  • 91 Offensive, 86 Defensive, 2 Special Teams (Kicker/Punter)
    • QB- 12, RB- 16, WR- 30, TE- 8, OL- 25
    • DL- 17, LB- 23, DB- 46
    • K/P- 2
  • Conference Breakdown
    • ACC (16)
      • Boston College- 3, Clemson- 2, Duke- 0, Florida State- 5, Georgia Tech- 0, Maryland- 0, Miami (FL)- 1, North Carolina- 3, North Carolina State- 1, Virginia- 0, Virginia Tech- 0, Wake Forest- 1
    • Big 12 (19)
      • Baylor- 0, Iowa State- 1, Kansas- 1, Kansas State- 0, Missouri- 1, Oklahoma- 6, Oklahoma State- 1, Texas- 1, Texas A&M- 4, Texas Tech- 4
    • Big East (7)
      • Cincinnati- 0, Connecticut- 0, Louisville- 0, Pittsburgh- 0, Rutgers- 2, South Florida- 2, Syracuse- 3, West Virginia- 0
    • Big Ten (16)
      • Illinois- 1, Indiana- 2, Iowa- 0, Michigan- 0, Michigan State- 1, Minnesota- 5, Nebraska- 0, Northwestern- 3, Ohio State- 0, Penn State- 2, Purdue- 0, Wisconsin- 2
    • Conference USA (18)
      • East Carolina- 3, Houston- 0, Marshall- 0, Memphis- 1, Rice- 2, Southern Methodist- 1, Southern Mississippi- 3, Tulane- 3, Tulsa- 0, UAB- 1, UCF- 2, UTEP- 2
    • I-A Independents (5)
      • Army- 1, Brigham Young- 2, Navy- 1, Notre Dame- 1
    • Mid-American (22)
      • Akron- 3, Ball State- 3, Bowling Green- 2, Buffalo- 2, Central Michigan- 2, Eastern Michigan- 0, Kent State- 5, Miami (OH)- 2, Northern Illinois- 0, Ohio- 0, Temple- 0, Toledo- 1, Western Michigan- 1
    • Mountain West (7)
      • Air Force- 0, Boise State- 0, Colorado State- 3, New Mexico- 1, San Diego State- 2, TCU- 0, UNLV- 0, Wyoming- 1
    • Pacific-12 (40)
      • Arizona- 2, Arizona State- 3, California- 5, Colorado- 4, Oregon- 2, Oregon State- 4, Stanford- 4, UCLA- 5, USC- 1, Utah- 1, Washington- 7, Washington State- 2
    • SEC (19)
      • Alabama- 2, Arkansas- 1, Auburn- 2, Florida- 0, Georgia- 1, Kentucky- 2, LSU- 2, Mississippi State- 1, Ole Miss- 1, South Carolina- 6, Tennessee- 0, Vanderbilt- 1
    • Sun Belt (2)
      • Arkansas State- 0, Florida Atlantic- 1, Florida International- 0, Louisiana Lafayette- 0, Louisiana Monroe- 0, Middle Tennessee- 0, North Texas- 0, Troy- 1, Western Kentucky- 0
    • WAC (5)
      • Fresno State- 1, Hawaii- 1, Idaho- 1, Louisiana Tech- 0, Nevada- 0, New Mexico State- 0, San Jose State- 3, Utah State- 2

CONFERENCE CONCLUSIONS at Week 10: Pacific-12 Conference is the only conference where every team has reported at least one concussion.  Washington has reported the most concussions at 7.  Recognizing that some conferences such as the Sunbelt and WAC don’t get all that much national coverage could be a contributing factor to the lack of findings in reported concussions.

Your BCS Top 25 Rankings as it relates to findings in reported concussions through this study:

  1. LSU- 2
  2. Oklahoma State- 1
  3. Alabama- 2
  4. Stanford- 4
  5. Boise State- 0
  6. Oklahoma- 6
  7. Oregon- 2
  8. Arkansas- 1
  9. Clemson- 2
  10. Virginia Tech- 0
  11. Houston- 0
  12. Penn State- 2
  13. South Carolina- 6
  14. Kansas State- 0
  15. Georgia- 1
  16. Texas- 1
  17. Michigan State- 1
  18. Wisconsin- 2
  19. Nebraska- 0
  20. Auburn- 2
  21. Georgia Tech- 0
  22. Southern Mississippi- 3
  23. Cincinnati- 0
  24. Michigan- 0
  25. Baylor- 0

We acknowledge the fact that these statistics are, by no means, concretely accurate, as it is quite honestly hard to believe that about 16 concussions occur weekly between 119 competing Division-I football programs.  The purpose of this study is to raise further awareness of the issue by broadening to critique at all levels.  By incorporating college football into the scenery, we hope to see that discussion regarding concussions/head injuries at this level of play grows to become more active.  As always, we encourage the readers to contribute to this study if they feel that any information may be missing anything, as we would like to generate a more complete compilation of data as the weeks progress toward the regular season’s end.


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