Injury is inevitable in the NFL. This is elementary. The NFL and the NFL Players Association have been putting in a ton of hard work on learning different methods of injury prevention. Most notably modifying the league’s concussion protocol in order to better serve and protect their players. However, the injury bug hit the league upside the head in devastating fashion.
During the 2017 NFL season, more players were reported to have a concussion than at any time in the past five years. Definitely not something the league was looking forward to realizing.
A staggering grand total of 281 concussions were reported during the season, including those which happened during preseason games and in practice sessions as well. That is without question the highest total in six years. It is also an increase of nearly 16% over the course of five years.
A total of 190 concussions were officially diagnosed during the regular season. However, there was a huge rise in incidents during the preseason with 91.
Even more to the displeasure of the league, they were almost evenly split between games (46) and practices (45). 11 players were diagnosed with concussions during practices. The league said 50 of the concussions in 2017 were self-reported by players.
The IQVIA, an independent third party retained by the league, compiled information that showed a nearly 14% increase in diagnosed concussions from last season to 2017. There were a reported 243 concussions in 2016 with those suffered in the preseason being included in that total as well.
A pretty substantial increase in concussions came during preseason practices. 26 were reported in 2016 and then nearly doubled with 45 in 2017.
Nearly an entire third (28%) of concussion evaluations came following by players reporting them with their own consent. It was an increase of 9% over the last year. Nearly 47% of concussions included a self-reporting component when given the incentive or being flagged by team doctors and independent neurological specialists to do so.
Jeff Miller, the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives said that the overall increase in preseason concussions, particularly those that were reported during practices, was extremely easy to note.
Thursday Night football, which has been ridiculed and in many ways completely renounced by NFL players, was also a topic of conversation in addition to the injury report. The data showed a yearly increase in the amount of injuries reported during Thursday night games.
An average of nearly 7 injuries were reported during Thursday games. It was a 1.6 increase over 2016. Sunday and Monday contests in 2017 were almost an entire injury less reported per week. Which doesn’t seem like a big difference until you think of how many games are usually played on Sunday. Then, it becomes a huge deal.
On the other hand, the NFL experienced a slight decrease in injuries below the waist. Particularly in the knee area. The total of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in 2017 was 54. Two down from last year. It was also 8 fewer than the highest reported total of 62 way back in the 2012 season.
Medial collateral ligament (MCL) tears were up slightly, however. From 143 last year, there were only four more that were reported in 2017 with a total of 147. Not a significant jump, but still one nonetheless.