Longer Down-Time Signifies NFL’s Making Progress in Managing Concussions

A new report for injury data from 2012 reveals that “NFL players who suffered concussions last season spent an average of 16 days off the field, a significant increase from previous years.”

“That is an increase of nearly 10 days per concussion since 2009, though the total number of concussions have remained relatively flat in that time,” said Dr. Jesse David of Edgeworth Economics, the firm conducting an independent analysis of data supplied by the NFL Player’s Association.

The league’s view of this longer recovery time is that it’s efforts to manage concussion symptoms and the follow up treatment are working—not that the impact of head trauma is “getting worse.”

According to the report, “players missed an average of only 6.4 days after suffering a concussion in 2009, and only 4 days per concussion in 2005.”

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello remarked that this “is a reflection of how the injury is being treated more cautiously based on revised protocols and the current judgment of our medical staffs.”

Dr, David goes on to comment that “though the number of head injuries appears to have leveled out, the total number of severe injuries is up.” Severe meaning that the player misses two games or requires surgery.

“Players in 2012 suffered 1,496 injuries that resulted in at least a two-game absence, and 345 injuries that required surgery. Both were all-time highs, “David stated.

The fact remains, the wear and tear of professional football will most likely rear its ugly head later on in life in one form or another—memory loss, bad knees, back pain. It’s a violent sport that more often than not takes no prisoners.

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