The NFL is about to be under fire once again for its handling of concussions, thanks to the release of a new report.
In short, the New York Times noted that data has been omitted from five-years worth of concussion studies. Here’s the stunning part. The NFL is now saying teams were not required to submit their data, and not all did — a critical fact that one committee member said he didn’t know.
The Times obtained new, confidential data that shows the NFL omitted a drastically high number of concussions — 100 to be precise — during its concussion studies from 1996-2001. These studies determined head trauma posed no real significant danger, but the NYT is now claiming that the data obtained is missing numerous injuries, including ones from former star quarterbacks such as Steve Young and Troy Aikman.
“For the last 13 years, the N.F.L. has stood by the research, which, the papers stated, was based on a full accounting of all concussions diagnosed by team physicians from 1996 through 2001.” The New York Times writes. But confidential data obtained by The Times shows that more than 100 diagnosed concussions were omitted from the studies — including some severe injuries to stars like quarterbacks Steve Young and Troy Aikman. The committee then calculated the rates of concussions using the incomplete data, making them appear less frequent than they actually were.”
The Times asked the NFL about the missing cases,and league officials responded that, “The clubs were not required to submit their data and not every club did.” That fact should have been made known to the committee, the league said in a statement, and it added that the missing cases were not part of an attempt “to alter or suppress the rate of concussions.”
Dr. Joseph Waeckerle, one of the committee’s members said he did not know of any left out concussions, and added to The Times: “If somebody made a human error or somebody assumed the data was absolutely correct and didn’t question it, well, we screwed up. If we found it wasn’t accurate and still used it, that’s not a screw-up; that’s a lie.”
The Times’ findings show that Young was listed on the NFL’s midweek injury reports — for concussions specifically — on both Sept. 3, 1997, and Sept. 29, 1999. Aikman was listed on the NFL’s midweek injury reports for concussions on Oct. 29, 1997, Sept. 6, 2000 and Dec. 13, 2000. He was listed for a head injury, which Cowboys officials informed the media stood for “mild concussion” on Nov. 10, 1999.
If this data the Times obtained is true, this is obviously a bombshell report that may discredit the majority of the concussion committee’s findings. You can read The Times’ piece in it’s entirety here. This story will continue to be updated as needed.