2013 Week 1 NFL Concussion Report

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 information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).

So it begins, our fourth season of compiling a report on the NFL concussions.  We were the first to bring you this report and ones like it, but over the years it has evolved.  We feel that this listing is the best one can get outside of the league itself.  We are using a variety of data mining techniques such as (but not limited to);

  • NFL Official Injury Report – obviously the official listings, but not all are always on there.  Players only missing practice due to the injury or may not play will be listed.  This was a problem when we began in 2010 as players would be cleared on a Monday or Tuesday and not hit the OIR.  Recently, to the credit of the league, all players that have had a concussion disclosed have been listed.  Another issue with the OIR is that if a player had co-injuries often times both are not listed.  Finally, the OIR has been known not to list concussions otherwise listed in media.  An example of the possible confusion played out between week 1 and 2 of this year; Jeff Cumberland was reported to have been removed from a game due to concussion on twitter (then changed to “chin”) and reported as “chin” in the OIR.
  • CBS Sports NFL Injury List – often not that different from the OIR, but has at times listed injuries that have been “undisclosed” on the OIR.  This outlet also provides ideas of injuries before the official injury is listed on the OIR
  • Twitter – various sources are good at cataloging concussions, most notably is @nflconcussions.  However, the feeds of teams and reporters are used to clue us in on concussions.
  • Other sources – this would be inclusive of simple observation of a trained professional in concussions – Dustin Fink, MS ATC, Fink’s Rule, team sources and in some cases players themselves have been used by this method.  Again is the classic example of Jeff Cumberland in Week 1, video shows the MOI with the reaction/signs of the player on the field.  This leads us to include Jeff Cumberland in our numbers.

This report initially was released on Thursday, as the NFL used to place the actual injury on the list prior to game day, the league has since not listed the injury on the OIR until Friday, most cases in the evening.  Due to this timing, we will be posting the report as soon as we feel confident with what information we have.  If additions are warranted they will be noted.

Our information has been scoured and gone over various times by various researchers and groups to become as accurate as possible.  We have noted a discrepancy in the collection of concussion stats by other groups/people including the league itself.  Until we have the actual numbers from the league we cannot say for 100 percent certainty that this is all-inclusive, but it is as good as it gets.

The goal of this weekly posting is not to “hammer” the league, teams, medical staffs (particularly athletic trainers) or players.  Rather it is to just find a statistical comparison we can measure, over time, to see what if any changes have helped (kick off rule) or not been beneficial (2011, Week 7 defenseless receiver increased fines and suspensions).

It should be noted that with the previous years collections there are some trends to pay attention to;

  • DB’s are the most concussed players on the field
  • WR’s, TE’s and WR’s are next
  • OL tend to be more concussed as the season wares on
  • Concussions do not increase in a linear fashion, rather exponential as the season progresses
  • Each year there has been an increase in concussions
  • There are certain teams that have been reporting concussions higher and lower than league averages
  • We have yet to find the “true” starting value of concussions in the NFL

Ultimately we would hope there is an expected number of concussions in the NFL then we can truly find out if rule changes, rule enforcement, equipment changes, policies and procedures are working.

We also collect the preseason concussions, but due to many factors we do not use these numbers in our calculations; they are simply used as a guide and raw number of concussions.  This season there were 55 preseason concussions (compared to 48 in 2012).  You will see us note the overall concussion number, this will include the preseason numbers.  The compiling statistics and projections are based on regular season concussions only.

Here are our Week 1 Numbers;

  • 5 Concussions/head injuries
  • 5.00 Concussions/week
  • 85 Projected Concussions
  • 0.33 Concussions/game
  • 5.77% InR
  • 5.01% EInR
  • 2 Offensive – 3 Defense
  • Positionally Speaking
    • QB – 0, RB – 0, TE – 1, WR – 1, OL – 0, DL – 0, LB – 1, DB – 2
  • Team Breakdown
    • NYJ – 2
    • PHI, NYG, WAS – 1

Our definition of Incidence Rate (InR) is projected concussions/45 players taking the field per team per game, our definition of Epidemiological Incidence Rate (EInR) is projected concussions/53 man roster per team.

Comparing to past seasons the following has been found after Week 1: # (2012, 2011, 2010):

  • Regular Season Concussions – 5 (12, 9, 15)

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