In the category of NOT shocking; Catastrophic Brain Injuries Rising in Football posted a story written by WFMY News 2 about the recent report from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (NCCSIR);

Monday, researchers at UNC Chapel Hill said catastrophic brain injuries associated with full-contact football appear to be rising, especially among high school students.

They call the increase alarming and said it indicates that more coaches and athletic trainers should change how they teach the fundamental skills of the game.

Until recently, the number of football-related brain injuries with permanent disability in high school had remained in the single digits since 1984.

However, in 2008 and 2009 10 injuries were recorded and in 2011 there were 13 injuries recorded. That’s according to the latest catastrophic football injury research annual report from the UNC-based National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research.

To me it is a double-edged resource; on one hand it is good the “good ol’ boys” of the research world (aka those most listened to) have presented this material.  On the other hand we have published information about this research BEFORE its release recently with the tremendous work of/by Matt Chaney.

The full report from the NCCSIR can be found here, it chronicles the catastrophic injuries from 1977 – 2011.

However with the recent and VERY accurate listings from Chaney there seems to be a difference, which Chaney so eloquently put it in an email to me; Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Injury Statistics

Statistics are seemingly becoming a major part of all of our lives; from your favorite baseball players batting average, to the graduation rate of the school system, to your fantasy football team, to the injury rate of particular activities.  Being an athletic trainer the later is important, not only does it paint a picture of “expected” injuries we should be on top of, it also provides information for us to use in terms of making solid decisions about return to sport.

If a player sustains an injury that occurs a high percentage of the time in the sport, then when returning there are different things we can do, in terms of preventative measures, to possibly avoid a re-injury.  Along with that, if a player sustains a “freak injury” and obtains complete recovery statistics can tell us if playing again is a good idea at all.

This is why it is important to have all the available information be correct and up to date; more and more decisions not only from athletic trainers but parents about playing are made from such injury statistics.  One of the “gold standards” of injury surveillance for athletic training is Continue reading

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: Continue reading

Catastrophic Football: Matt Chaney

In the news just this weekend was the terrible news from Upstate New York, as Ridge Barden of Phoenix High School died due to head trauma suffered in a game on Friday.  This type of news rarely escapes the “lights” of the media, in fact Sports Illustrated picked up on this case recently.

However what about these names;

  • Brennan Barber, 17
  • Tucker Montgomery, 17
  • Logan Weber, 21
  • Dominic Morris, 21
  • Robby Mounce, 17
  • Zeth Shouse, 17
  • Adrian Padilla, 17
  • Adam Ingle, 17
  • Bobby Clark, 17
  • Shelton Dvorak, 17
  • Dillon Lackhan, teenager
  • 5 year-old from Hawaii
  • Unnamed teen from California
  • Connor Laudenslager, teenager
  • Dylan Mercadante, 16
  • Neiron Ball, 19
  • Alan Mohika, 17
  • Matt Ringer, 15
  • Jadon Adams, 16
  • Lamont Baldwin, 17

Those are kids that have Continue reading