Chaney Tracks Catastrophic Injuries

If you have read the blog much you will find a fair amount of information and commentary from Matt Chaney regarding his position on head/brain injury.  One thing that Matt does well, from his journalistic background, is document the many cases of catastrophic injury related to football in America.

Chaney is not the only one who does this, he just appears to be more transparent about it than the national foundation for such tracking, the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research (NCCSI).  In his most recent post on his blog, Chaney gives us the list he has compiled for 2011, both by the NCCSI criteria and his extended criteria (which deserves credit).

The rate of catastrophic injuries in American football could be a record in 2011, with more than 70 survivor cases of conditions such as brain hemorrhage and spinal fracture, according to an intensive electronic survey by this reporter.

See the complete annotated list of cases below, with juveniles comprising the large majority of victims.

The findings belie talk of “culture change” by football officials, their popular claim of “safer” football in America, and raise question whether catastrophic injuries of the inherently brutal sport are significantly under-reported in record-keeping of the present and past.

Last year the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research (NCCSI) logged only 24 survivor cases—barely half the 2010 cases still available online, including players with brain bleeds and spinal paralysis missed in the report.

Now stronger accounting is assured for 2011, standing on results of my daily searching of Google banks that’s garnered a solid 70 survivor cases for verification as catastrophic football injuries, defined by the NCCSI as affecting the brain, skull, spinal cord and/or vertebral column.

My cases include the following:

*1 comatose preschooler, a 5-year-old “Tiny Mite” player hospitalized with brain trauma of full-contact football.

*23 head injuries such as brain hemorrhage and skull fracture, cases including surgery for 16 players suffering cerebral bleeding.

*41 spinal traumas, the vast majority fractures, including 17 cases requiring surgery and at least 5 involving continuing paralysis.

*1 case of MRSA infection of the spinal column apparently triggered by football contact.

*6 cases of cardiac arrest, including 5 players revived by portable defibrillator and CPR.

*1 case of heart attack.

In addition:

*7 reported brain and spinal casualties require expert consideration for catastrophic data, including the football-related trauma of a Tennessee schoolteacher hospitalized in an ICU, after she was struck in the head sitting along a sideline, by helmet of a diving player.

My basic approach is regular filtering of Google content, utilizing Boolean command terms such as football and hospital, football medical center, football brain, football head injury, football spine and football vertebra, along with substituting main adjectives like “player” for “football,” to recycle search on terms like player hospital, player brain and so forth.

Every 2011 incident I have found requires expert follow-up and verification as football catastrophic injury, but available data indicate about 90 percent are locks for the classification by the national center based at the University of North Carolina.

There is more;

A significant portion of local print and broadcast news in America does not reach posting online, and then cyber flow is divided among content providers like subscription databases and Google, the monster search engine that nevertheless cannot access everything Internet. Finally, many online pages are removed after a period of posting.

This report continues with my annotated list of 2011 survivor cases in catastrophic injury of American football.

I am forwarding these cases to medical authorities and other parties with interest in the focus, such as risk assessors, for soliciting their review and comment. Dr. Cantu and Professor Mueller are on the list of recipients.

I urge other media to do the same, contact experts regarding the cases below, which are public information.

Look for updates on this blog and elsewhere.

73 Survivor Cases of Catastrophic Injury in American Football 2011

From Reports Retrieved in Google Search Through December 21

By Matt Chaney,

Note: List below does not include 17-20 football-related fatalities in 2011, retrieved from online thus far, such as 4 deaths of head injuries from contact, along with more than 50 player survivors of grave conditions such as blood clots, femoral artery rupture, heatstroke, internal organ rupture/laceration, staph infection or MRSA, and peripheral nerve damage/paralysis.

Click HERE to see the full list.

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor, teacher and restaurant worker living in Missouri, USA. His 2001 graduate thesis for an MA at the University of Central Missouri is qualitative media analysis of 466 football reports, historical print coverage of anabolic steroids and HGH in American football, largely based on electronic search among thousands of news texts from the 1970s through 1999. For more information, including contact numbers and his 2009 book, Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football, visit the homepage at


One thought on “Chaney Tracks Catastrophic Injuries

  1. Joe Bloggs December 22, 2011 / 09:05

    Chaney has exposed a serious problem. How can we form policy without sound data? He has clearly demonstrated the deficiency of the National Center but cautions that his methodology is limited to what is available in the public domain. The number of injuries could be substantially higher and it is unclear from the past metholodogy whether the tracking or classification of injuries is accurate or appropriate.

    We need better data and we need better analysis to make bettter decisions. Chaney has done a public service by exposing the failure at UNC.

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