Chaney’s 2011 Findings

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor, teacher and restaurant worker living in Missouri, USA. His 2001 graduate thesis study for an MA degree at the University of Central Missouri was 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

Matt Chaney has taken it upon himself to find information about catastrophic injuries associated with American football.  Chaney is a former college football player that has become concerned with the relative “under-reporting” of catastrophic injuries in football.  This official task has primarily been up to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, University of North Carolina.  The NCCSIR provides the catastrophic injury rates for sports, painting a picture of “worst case” injuries.

What Chaney has discovered in his electronic survey for 2011 is 220 cases of football catastrophic injuries, 194 survivor cases and 26 deaths.  For comparison in 2009 and 2010 the NCCSIR reported 44 and 24 survivor cases, where Chaney found 165 survivor cases for those two years.

Chaney does not hold his information as medical record, rather an electronic search that fit the guidelines of catastrophic injury surveillance.  Here is an excerpt from his post (for an annotated case by case and the full article click HERE);

Last fall in Oklahoma, athletic trainer Dan Dodson saw the horrific side of tackle football become manifest.

Grave injury struck down three teen players under Dodson’s watch, leaving one dead, from one team.

In a span of barely three weeks, Edmond North High School became site of perhaps the worst cluster of acute casualties in known history of American football.

Junior player Ryan Smith died on Oct. 12, likely of blood clots originating from leg fractures that the 16-year-old suffered at football practice the day before.

Two weeks later, sophomore Dillian Barrett, 15, was hammered in a collision during practice at Edmond North, breaking a rib that caused lacerations of his liver and spleen.

Then, on Nov. 4, sophomore player John Liles took a lethal blow at practice, damaging internal organs, and the 15-year-old underwent emergency surgery for removing spleen and part of his pancreas.

Questions rose in aftermath about Edmond North football, seeking explanation for the team’s catastrophic injuries, and school trainer Dan Dodson pointed to obvious culprit in the sport itself.

“It is a lot of injuries from one school,” Dodson conceded for KFOR-TV, “but you gotta look at the nature of the sport they’re playing. Football is a violent-contact sport.”


No matter how football advocates always spin the violence, regardless their talk of solutions always in progress, the tackle sport rolls on as predictable mass carnage, maiming players by the thousands annually, killing far too many—and at much higher rates than acknowledged by game officials, associate researchers and the adoring public.

This report presents an unprecedented collection of injuries surrounding football in a given year, 220 cases ranging from severe to fatal during 2011, with the large majority juveniles. The list is comprised strictly of information available in Google banks.

The annotated cases below are 194 survivor casualties and 26 fatalities, ranging in age from 5 years old to 50 and including 3 females.

Here is the breakdown by category of injury or diagnosed condition, in listed order, for American football during 2011:

*4 survivors of “compartment syndrome,” including 1 with leg amputation.

*8 survivors of heatstroke or related illness.

*12 survivors of non-cerebral blood clots mostly originating from leg fractures.

*16 survivors of lung collapse or injury.

*12 survivors of kidney rupture, bruising or malfunction.

*6 survivors of liver laceration.

*16 survivors of spleen rupture or injury.

*1 boy who survived numerous internal injuries.

*2 survivors of facture fracturing, including injury to orbital sockets.

*5 players hospitalized in critical care for infection, including MRSA.

*1 case of knee injury involving paralysis of the peripheral peroneal nerve.

*8 survivors of cardiac arrest or condition and 1 survivor of heart attack.

*17 survivors of brain bleeding requiring surgery, with about half of them still in recovery.

*2 survivors of vessel rupture and stroke requiring surgery, including 1 yet in recovery.

*4 survivors of brain bleeding requiring hospitalization without surgery, including at least 1 yet in recovery.

*1 survivor of brain seizure requiring surgery, caused by a congenital artery tangle known as AVM, with rehabilitation underway.

*2 survivors of head and/or neck injury causing nerve damage.

*1 survivor of skull fracture.

*5 additional survivors of severe or catastrophic head injury or condition.

*20 spinal cases requiring surgery, largely for stabilizing vertebral fractures, including at least 6 victims experiencing continuing paralysis for insult of the spinal-cord nerve bundle.

*49 spinal injuries of no paralysis that did not require surgery, with large majority of cases involving fracturing of vertebral column.

*1 survivor of staph infection in spinal column, no paralysis.

*26 fatality cases surrounding tackle football in 2011, a collection first reported last week in this space, including 23 players, 1 coach, 1 referee and 1 cheerleader.

4 thoughts on “Chaney’s 2011 Findings

  1. tupelo February 13, 2012 / 09:40

    What stands out to me is that so many of these injuries occurred during practice. I am a high school football coach and we practice thud tempo 98% of the time. We had one concussion during practice all year, this includes 20 summer practices and a season. And yes, we have a certified athletic trainer at every practice. We had a few bumps and bruises, but it is football. We do tackling drills every practice, too, just controlled form tackling most of the time. and yes, you can win games with less hitting in practice, I am 27-1 over the last 3 years.

    • Dustin Fink February 13, 2012 / 13:23

      Wonderful comment… It’s not hard to change if you are willing to put in the effort… Thanks coach!

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