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NFL says 271 concussions were diagnosed in 2015

Will Smith AP

The NFL says concussions were up in 2015.

The league released data today showing that a total of 271 concussions were diagnosed in 2015, the highest in the last four years. That includes 29 concussions in preseason practices, 52 concussions in preseason games, eight concussions in regular-season practices and 182 concussions in regular-season games.

What’s unclear is whether there were actually more concussions suffered last year, or simply more concussions diagnosed. The league noted that there were twice as many players evaluated for possible concussions in 2015 as in 2014, which suggests that medical staffs are being more vigilant about evaluating players who take hard hits. The league also says more players are self-reporting concussion symptoms. It’s possible that concussions were actually down in 2015 even as concussion diagnoses were up.

The league says that most of the concussions suffered last year — 92 of 182 — were caused by helmet-to-helmet hits. There were 29 concussions caused by a helmet hitting the playing surface, 23 caused by shoulder-to-helmet hits and 12 caused by knee-to-helmet hits.

At a time when the league is fighting a perception that football is a dangerous game, headlines saying that concussions are up aren’t exactly good news. But the increased scrutiny on head injuries leading to more diagnoses may represent a positive step for the long-term health of the sport and its players.

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57 Responses to “NFL says 271 concussions were diagnosed in 2015”
  1. weepingjebus says: Jan 29, 2016 12:26 PM

    But 194 of them were diagnosed for Jerry Jones.

  2. sonhoodoo says: Jan 29, 2016 12:26 PM

    Did they include the organic brain injury observed in many members of the league offices? I think the ones performing “comprehensive” “investigations” for the “integrity” of the league have all been diagnosed.

  3. qbarrel says: Jan 29, 2016 12:32 PM

    Yikes. If this increase in diagnoses is the result of more vigilance , then just imagine how many went undiagnosed in previous years.

  4. killxswitch says: Jan 29, 2016 12:33 PM

    Holy crap.

  5. preposterousstatementtournament says: Jan 29, 2016 12:33 PM

    What are the odds in a couple thousand years people look back at the NFL as we currently look back at the Roman Gladiators?

  6. mariorat says: Jan 29, 2016 12:36 PM

    Ouch!

  7. albloch says: Jan 29, 2016 12:38 PM

    Saying 92/182 is “most” is stretching it, but that is an overall scary picture

  8. intrafinesse says: Jan 29, 2016 12:38 PM

    >>What are the odds in a couple thousand years people look back at the NFL as we currently look back at the Roman Gladiators?

    I think in 2,000 years no one will remember the NFL.
    Hopefully people will still be taught about ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt. And probably ancient China and other civilizations too

  9. metalman5150 says: Jan 29, 2016 12:40 PM

    They’ll never go away either.

  10. pixelito says: Jan 29, 2016 12:40 PM

    This is where countless fans post that the players play strictly for our entertainment and if they sustain brain damage during their careers it’s not our problem because a new generation will always take their place.

  11. pantherfan1973299 says: Jan 29, 2016 12:41 PM

    271 is an eye opening number. Yikes.

  12. dasmol says: Jan 29, 2016 12:43 PM

    That is a seriously ugly number for the league. How long until they ban players that have had X amount of concussions? Anything less would be negligent.

    Informed consent of the risks doesn’t matter, when allowing players to play at all is unethical.

  13. butwhatabouttheintegrityofthegame says: Jan 29, 2016 12:44 PM

    Get rid of the helmets and shoulder pads. There won’t be anyone head to head hits. Tackle how rugby players tackle.

  14. shlort says: Jan 29, 2016 12:47 PM

    For millions of dollars a man can basically take a 45% chance he will get a concussion over an average career. Could be a 100% chance and guys would still take the risk for the reward.

  15. radioactivechimp says: Jan 29, 2016 12:49 PM

    More public awareness=more attention from team doctors=more diagnoses

  16. bryantrulen says: Jan 29, 2016 12:50 PM

    I’m pretty sure Rodgers suffered at least 5 this year that were Un diagnosed

  17. flaccodelic says: Jan 29, 2016 12:50 PM

    Wow, and you know that means the real number of actual concussions was at least twice that.

  18. ebdug says: Jan 29, 2016 12:51 PM

    There are a few things Goodell has done to bring about this increase in concussions.

    “The Suicide King” eliminated kickoff returns – one of the most exciting plays in football – and replaced them with more plays from scrimmage. He couldn’t have done more harm if he had gone down to the field and personally hit the players on the head with a sledgehammer.

    He also encouraged throwing flags for retaliatory strikes, which has prevented the league from policing itself. It used to be be that player you would see getting carted off the field was a cheapshot artist. Now, the ones being carted off are his victims.

    Also, coaches are sending their expendable players across the middle to draw the “hitting too hard” penalty. This was never done pre-Goodell, when coaches used to advise even those big Tight Ends to keep their head down.

    The worst part is, he’s done just as much damage to the game as he’s done to the players.

  19. bryantrulen says: Jan 29, 2016 12:51 PM

    With the money and love and dedication to sport many if not all would still play

  20. cajunaise says: Jan 29, 2016 12:54 PM

    New article out: “Dr. Bennet Omalu Believes O.J. Simpson Has CTE”. He’s willing to bet his career on it.

  21. dryzzt23 says: Jan 29, 2016 12:55 PM

    So what? The players KNEW the risks when they signed their NFL contract yet they signed it anyway.

    Cry me a river and it won’t make any difference. If players want to avoid concussions, quit the NFL.

    If players still play despite the known risks, don’t sue the NFL or anyone else b/c you made a choice to get paid to play. Use your own money to pay for concussion treatment.

  22. kcnative says: Jan 29, 2016 12:56 PM

    I think it’s definitely more vigilant evaluation. I’ve noticed it with my Chiefs. They had quite a few this year, and more stayed out multiple weeks, as well.

  23. yyc2phx says: Jan 29, 2016 1:03 PM

    What’s scarier is the quality of the equipment is 1000 x better than it was 25 years ago ….I know I hurt and some of my fellow teammates and warriors are in worse shape…

  24. lilrob10201 says: Jan 29, 2016 1:04 PM

    The rise in players salary is going up too.

  25. beavertonsteve says: Jan 29, 2016 1:06 PM

    If each team plays two 30 minute preseason games that basically eliminates 3 full games worth of preseason concussions and could cut the number of concussions suffered in all games by 15-20%.

    I know the teams use it for player evaluations, but is it worth it?

  26. bryonneufeld says: Jan 29, 2016 1:09 PM

    preposterousstatementtournament says:
    Jan 29, 2016 12:33 PM
    What are the odds in a couple thousand years people look back at the NFL as we currently look back at the Roman Gladiators?
    =====================================

    Slim and none. People were brutally killed in the gladiator battles – gore and blood everywhere. Football is a physical game that leaves players with long term health problems – kind of like smoking or doing drugs – but rarely if ever does someone die on the field. I think we are losing perspective in our new media age.

  27. selfpromotingqb says: Jan 29, 2016 1:10 PM

    I saw Tom Waddle get 3 concussions in the playoff game vs Dallas He probably had 10 that year

  28. jonathankrobinson424 says: Jan 29, 2016 1:16 PM

    ………………………MY head hurts reading about all these concussions…but honestly, it is part of the RISK they accepted when they signed a contract to play football for a living. Do race car driver families sue when the race drive dies in a crash?…..

  29. smithdp says: Jan 29, 2016 1:19 PM

    If HGH has the effect of making players bigger, stronger or faster in anyway (and Im not sure exactly how the hormone works) the league must do everything to rid the league of the substance. Current testing only catches people who have just used HGH. Testing is available to detect if a player has used HGH recently, not just in the last few hours. Thats why literally no one has been caught this year. Concussions are significantly a function of mass and speed. If the league is serious about concussions it must get serious about making sure players are not unnaturally getting faster or stronger or larger. Even if you can cut concussions down 10 percent its a start. Better testing is available, time to use it. It also levels the playing field back between those who use and those who dont.

  30. willycents says: Jan 29, 2016 1:22 PM

    Concussions would decrease IF the players were coached in proper tackling technique, like we teach in peewee league: Keep your head up, tackle low, and wrap up. Absolutely no spearing.
    Check out the teams that use proper technique, they always miss fewer tackles and consistently rank in the top of the league, both defensively and in w-l records.

  31. beavertonsteve says: Jan 29, 2016 1:27 PM

    It’s weird. The numbers of concussions suffered by snowboarders and skiers have skyrocketed over the last ten years and nobody is making any movies or calling for bans on the sport at all.

  32. jsavage58 says: Jan 29, 2016 1:33 PM

    One was Will Smiths when he decided to make that movie.

  33. nhpats says: Jan 29, 2016 1:33 PM

    smithdp says:
    Jan 29, 2016 1:19 PM
    If HGH has the effect of making players bigger, stronger or faster in anyway (and Im not sure exactly how the hormone works) the league must do everything to rid the league of the substance. Current testing only catches people who have just used HGH. Testing is available to detect if a player has used HGH recently, not just in the last few hours. Thats why literally no one has been caught this year. Concussions are significantly a function of mass and speed. If the league is serious about concussions it must get serious about making sure players are not unnaturally getting faster or stronger or larger. Even if you can cut concussions down 10 percent its a start. Better testing is available, time to use it. It also levels the playing field back between those who use and those who don’t.

    ——————-

    How could they test to see if you ever used HGH? HGH is a naturally occurring hormone that our bodies produce. Not only that, but HGH will not make one bigger and stronger….it is not a testosterone-based steroid. It will allow one’s body to heal quicker and more efficiently.

  34. dietrich43 says: Jan 29, 2016 1:34 PM

    And there were none suffered in the League office. Turns out, you need a brain to suffer a concussion.

  35. thejohnsmith1122 says: Jan 29, 2016 1:47 PM

    Actually not bad considering the number players on a team times number teams in the league, and games per year. There were many, many opportunities for concussions in this game, yet there were only 271 diagnosed. All of this considered, it’s probably a .001% someone suffers a concussion during a game. Can this be reduced? Sure, but they’re taking more and more away from the intensity of the game.

  36. jonwill57 says: Jan 29, 2016 1:51 PM

    Given the number of exposure based upon the number of plays and number of players, 271 sounds like a lot but really it isn’t.

    Average game has almost 150 plays including special teams:
    150*16 games = 2400 plays*22 players/play=52,800 players exposed to possible concussions.

    Only 271 diagnosed?

  37. metalken247 says: Jan 29, 2016 1:54 PM

    A truly frightening number would be how many had more than one.

  38. ninerfan81 says: Jan 29, 2016 1:54 PM

    Sensors in the helmets will be more accurate measures

  39. eduardoandradeiturribarria says: Jan 29, 2016 1:55 PM

    256 regular season games, 64 preseason times roughly 120 plays per game is 38,000+ plays. Times 22 players each play and 271 concussions. Ok that makes the probability of being concussed playing football 1 in 844,800 for any individual playing in the NFL every down.
    Good

  40. tomhagansite says: Jan 29, 2016 2:01 PM

    lower the inflated #’s in contracts and make them guaranteed similar to that of every other sport- guys that get their heads crushed won’t be so inclined to go back in the game, risking more permanent brain injury. The misconception that players are “tough” or “hardheaded” is out of date- players go back into games hurt, concussed, and propped up by cortisone/toradol/pain pills because they are afraid of loosing their jobs.

  41. 1heatedtoombrayduh says: Jan 29, 2016 2:03 PM

    what about the fact that there is better technology than what the NFL uses? but they have contracts with certain companies so players aren’t allowed to use their own or safer equipment…but the NFL “cares so much”

    yeah, okey

  42. tqaztec says: Jan 29, 2016 2:06 PM

    This post will be viewed 10x more then that movie.

  43. arcross12042004scorp15 says: Jan 29, 2016 2:10 PM

    Make helmets softer so they protect the head, but are not a weapon.

  44. pensfan1 says: Jan 29, 2016 2:18 PM

    256 regular season games, 64 preseason times roughly 120 plays per game is 38,000+ plays. Times 22 players each play and 271 concussions. Ok that makes the probability of being concussed playing football 1 in 844,800 for any individual playing in the NFL every down.
    __________________________________
    That is a single number. Multiply that by the number of times an individual player can be hit on a single play and the percentage of a concussion happening goes up. Going through the line a back can be hit by several people multiple time with a higher proportion of them being helmet to helmet.

  45. carloswlassiter says: Jan 29, 2016 2:29 PM

    I really don’t see how the league survives in its current form.

    Either every player is going to be wearing a Gazoo helmet, or the lawsuits are going to bring the whole thing down.

  46. curtj5 says: Jan 29, 2016 2:35 PM

    The NFL are a bunch of greedy hypocrites. They are pretending like they care about this but 52 during preseason? Pointless games but they wont change the preseason format because of the $

  47. Kingmj4891 says: Jan 29, 2016 2:44 PM

    So I went and saw Concussion the other night. What a waster of money, it was so biased and trying to paint Football negative I almost left. Will Smith is usually good but he was horrible, no need to wonder why he didn’t get an oscar nomination.

  48. dryzzt23 says: Jan 29, 2016 2:44 PM

    Regardless of what equipment is available on the market, and the equipment that the NFL has contracts to use, players STILL make a conscious choice to play despite the risk of concussion.

    I see this as an employer/employee type of thing. If a player/employee chooses to work on a high rise for $45/hr for me/employer, they KNOW going in that there are risks working at high altitudes, including the risk of falling, hitting your head, other major injury.
    If that player/employee opts to continue to work as a riveter for me even though they keep injuring themselves, and I make sure that every possible safety precaution is in place, how am I/employer supposed to be held liable?
    If I fire the employee, his union will come to his defense and he will sue me.
    If I let him continue to work even though he is a menace to himself in terms of safety, his union will tell me that “I’m not doing enough to ensure his safety but I cannot take him off the job or I risk a lawsuit”.
    So the employer for the players, loses either way. At some point the player must accept that enough is enough in terms of concussions, and if he CHOOSES to keep playing, then he should lose any right to litigation against his employer.

  49. eduardoandradeiturribarria says: Jan 29, 2016 2:57 PM

    256 regular season games, 64 preseason times roughly 120 plays per game is 38,000+ plays. Times 22 players each play and 271 concussions. Ok that makes the probability of being concussed playing football 1 in 844,800 for any individual playing in the NFL every down.
    __________________________________
    That is a single number. Multiply that by the number of times an individual player can be hit on a single play and the percentage of a concussion happening goes up. Going through the line a back can be hit by several people multiple time with a higher proportion of them being helmet to helmet
    ———————————————————-
    Per play is exactly the same in spite of the amount of hits. Now, you are right, hardly is there a play of a single hit, but then the actual probability of any hit producing a concussion to any given player during a play is even lower. Two hits per play would make it one in 1,689+ probability and so on. A dangerous game, ok, but those are the numbers.

  50. rideforjesus says: Jan 29, 2016 3:13 PM

    271 x 50 years = 13550 is minimum of possible people have had a concussion. based on that number over 50 years of the super bowl era….

  51. rhamrhoddy says: Jan 29, 2016 3:32 PM

    I don’t believe the league.

    They have a motive to paint the league in the best possible light here to minimize future lawsuits and there is no iron clad proof.

    And Roger has shown that he will lie through his teeth if he thinks he can get away with it.

    He REALLY blew it when the transcripts in the Brady case were released and showed that he clearly lied when he thought he could get away with it.

    That was the day the league lost any remaining trust with the players and fans.

  52. mmack66 says: Jan 29, 2016 3:35 PM

    Josh McCown and Brian Hoyer account for 127 of them.

  53. mmack66 says: Jan 29, 2016 3:39 PM

    rideforjesus says:
    Jan 29, 2016 3:13 PM

    271 x 50 years = 13550 is minimum of possible people have had a concussion. based on that number over 50 years of the super bowl era….
    —————————

    50 years x however many people have played football during that time is the number of possible people that might have had a concussion in the Super Bowl era.

  54. fredegrar says: Jan 29, 2016 4:19 PM

    Do they track statistics on how many times a concussed player was allowed back onto the field? If they’ve (mostly) managed to eliminate that, it would be solid progress. The thing killing the old-school ballers is they’d “shake it off” and go out and pick up a second or third concussion on top of the one they already had. I kind of doubt they’ll ever be able to eliminate concussions from the game without turning it into flag football.

  55. jerry944 says: Jan 29, 2016 4:28 PM

    Very misleading..anytime u bumb ur head is considered a concussion..ask a doctor..this is all stupid info so the nfl can protect itself from the players that blew their money and are broke now and wanna sue

  56. conwayam says: Jan 29, 2016 4:35 PM

    How many of the helmet to helmet concussions were flagged? It should be 100%, but that non-defenseless player rule gets in the way. Use of a helmet to tackle or dislodge a ball should be banned and players need to get 4 game suspensions for that nonsense.

  57. jerry944 says: Jan 29, 2016 8:30 PM

    Really?4 games?…its football not soccer

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