How Many Concussions Are NBA Players Hiding?

I will make this quick, would love to get some more discussion on this…  If we think awareness and management are getting better, then I give you this wonderfully cited article of shots to the head in the NBA.  Some have resulted in concussions but others are very interesting, especially if you read how the player reacted to the contact.  From Henry Abbot of;

For a “noncontact” sport that allegedly doesn’t have a concussion problem, basketball sure does feature a lot of blows to the head.

A partial list just from this season:

  • October 30, 2012: Dwight Howard gets a flagrant for swinging an elbow at the face of Elton Brand.
  • November 2, 2012: Anthony Davis receives a concussion.
  • November 5, 2012: Tyler Zeller takes a hard elbow from DeAndre Jordan causing a fractured cheek bone and concussion.
  • November 7, 2012: Thomas Robinson is ejected for elbowing Jonas Jerebko in the head.
  • November 28, 2012: Marvin Williams falls hard to the floor, is diagnosed with concussion.
  • December 5, 2012: Thomas Robinson takes an incredibly hard blow to the head from Ed Davis.
  • December 12, 2012: After a flagrant foul from David Lee, LeBron James crashes to floor, hits head.
  • December 17, 2012: Tyson Chandler flagrantly fouls Jeremy Lin in the head.
  • December 17, 2012: Tim Duncan misses plays, dazed by an elbow from Kendrick Perkins.
  • December 17, 2012: Russell Westbrook hits his head on the floor in a scary fall.
  • December 18, 2012: Anthony Davis hits his head again.
  • December 18, 2012: Bradley Beal takes a very scary fall to the court.
  • December 25, 2012: Metta World Peace elbows Steve Novak in the head, Novak undergoes concussion testing.
  • December 26, 2012: Dwight Howard clocks Kenneth Faried in the face.
  • December 31, 2012: Fab Melo is diagnosed with concussion.
  • January 1, 2013: Charlie Villanueva is ejected for an elbow to the head of Isaiah Thomas.
  • January 2, 2013: Festus Ezeli sends Blake Griffin hard to the floor with a flagrant foul.
  • January 4, 2013: Jeremy Lin and Larry Sanders bang heads in bloody fashion.
  • January 4, 2013 Kevin Garnett hits Tyler Hansbrough hard in the face, and is ejected.
  • January 6, 2013: Pau Gasol takes a bloody shot to the nose that is diagnosed as a concussion and causes him to miss five games.
  • January 9, 2013: Carlos Delfino, who had a serious concussion two years ago, takes a hard blow to the head and appears shaken up.
  • January 26, 2013: Shannon Brown clobbers Manu Ginobili and was ejected.
  • January 28, 2013: Nets rookie Tornike Shengalia is recalled from the D-League to be treated for concussion.
  • January 29, 2013: Chris Kaman is out indefinitely with a concussion suffered in practice.
  • February 2, 2013: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is hospitalized with a concussion resulting from colliding with a teammate.
  • February 3, 2013: Metta World Peace is suspended for punching Brandon Knight in the face.
  • February 5, 2013: Larry Sanders collides with a dunking Kenneth Faried in mid-air, hits the back of his head hard on the floor and leaves the game.

Now you might say, this is a physical sport. Who could be alarmed if that physicality involves the head once in a while?

The answer: Medical science.

For the record here is our list of NBA concussions:

  • JJ Brea
  • Anthony Davis
  • Tyler Zeller
  • Marvin Williams
  • Fab Melo
  • Tornike Shengalia
  • Pau Gasol
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • Chris Kaman
  • Larry Sanders (not official as of yet but plainly obvious)

I just wonder if these players are being “tough” like their football brethren and will only be setting back the awareness/management side of the concussion issue.  I would also like to note that the above article has hotlinks to all the above injuries.

It is pretty telling that the NBA has so many instances; perhaps we should find some way to prevent them on the hardwood? [/sarcasm]

7 thoughts on “How Many Concussions Are NBA Players Hiding?

  1. Dustin,

    Re the TCB post re concussions in basketball…

    …Suggest you and others review concussion stats for football, lacrosse, soccer and basketball found in the journal article entitled:

    Epidemiology of Sport-Related Concussion.- Daneshvar et al, 2011 – Clin Sports Med

    Upon reading the article you will find that Michael Hopper’s mantra of

    “ Not just males; not just football ”

    gains more credibility.

  2. Don February 18, 2013 / 00:15

    Check out the recent crash of Zach Bell in Supercross. Two crashes in the same evening. First one is all over youtube since it was so brutal as he flew off his bike and ragdolled in the air twisting horrible. After lying motionless until help arrived, he got up walked. He raced in another heat race less than an hour later. Where he crashed hard again.

    Lots of youtube compilation videos of vicious Supercross crashes. Just do a youtube for “supercross crash compilation”. Typically a half dozen crashes per event. Which is part of the appeal. And one reason why their careers are so short.

  3. Matt Chaney February 18, 2013 / 14:47

    Yeah, well, until the Utopian time that concussion diagnosis is scientifically validated and expert consensus reached, along with establishment of reliable record-keeping, please reserve ‘data’ comparisons about which sport and/or activity is comparable to tackle football for rates of brain trauma. Heck, let’s forget subconcussive impacts for a moment and consider merely the intuitive-based concussion ‘symptoms’ published today–if accurate, football players are concussed routinely in full-contact sessions, often multiple times. For example, citing the popular misconception presently, to state or imply that soccer players are concussed half as often as football players, or even a quarter as often, is ridiculous. A simple video or direct observation of tackle football versus soccer action is all the science anybody needs for grasping the following fact: Incidence of head contact in soccer isn’t comparable to football’s, a major reason why so many parents and kids–including millions of female participants young and older–advocate playing the former. Soccer is by far less risky than tackle football, or even ‘safer’ (for those who mangle that word’s meaning around football; FYI, nothing is ‘safer’ without first being safe)… Just show me one complete soccer game on video that produces commiserate head-ramming of equal exposures for tackle football in helmets, all levels; no one can produce such evidence. Regarding football-soccer comparisons, any injuries head to toe, soccer might rate with tackle football for joint destruction of knees and ankles, but nothing else.

    • G.Malcolm Brown February 19, 2013 / 12:08

      If what you have seen , football players being rammed by helmets…and that action causing concussions..would you be open to changing headgear to something less lethal…?

      The incoming helmet ‘s hard shell inflicts the shock forces ….a sharp energy spike ,,,, and additional harmful recoil motions… All of which an inch or so of padding has proven less then effective ..!

      Maybe we should have headgear that inflects less forces on the receivers side of the hit, and also increases the protection of both players from sharp acceleration peaks. All factors in reducing the number of concussions on playing fields.

      • Matt Chaney February 19, 2013 / 14:34

        I’d love to see any technology that could alleviate brain impacts and rotational forces in tackle football, Malcolm, for sake of players everywhere, including my tough nephew entering NCAA ranks on scholarship. But I don’t see any headgear accomplishing much when players feel secure in a moment to strike head-on. Zero-degree contact becomes rule of the jungle that everyone on a field must practice, offensive players as well as defenders, or else stay out of the way (like many youth and prep players do, in fact). When I transitioned from sandlot pickup football to the organized game in 1976, I initially thought I could avoid head-ramming in helmets, especially with the new ‘form tackling’ method (see Heads Up ‘techinique’ today) and the ‘anti-butting’ and ‘anti-spearing’ rule. But I soon found those ‘preventions’ to be mere football CYA and impossible to practice in live contact, which was unlike choreographed hitting from angles. I was a varsity starter on a strong prep team but I got flattened, repeatedly, until the final three games of the season when I figured out to deliver punishment with my facemask, rather than absorb shots. I became the hard hitter coaches expected of me and didn’t experience fear on a football field again until age 24, at college, when I attempted a comeback on ravaged knee and paralyzed foot… Anyway, I digress, but I know guys like you and Mr. Beckmann, himself in hard-shell helmet manufacturing, are seeking new resolutions. Good luck.

  4. G.Malcolm Brown February 20, 2013 / 12:16


    Great story , thanks for the reply..!

    Hard shell helmets hitting other players has been a problem…time for some changes….!

    CAD pictures of our design concept are available ..

    G.Malcolm Brown

    ART FORM Inc

    New London, CT

    • Dustin Fink February 20, 2013 / 15:06

      I’m still waiting for your information Mr. Brown…

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