Report: NFL Concussion Studies Omitted Over 100 Diagnosed Cases

NFL concussion studies

On Thursday, a bombshell investigation by the New York Times revealed NFL concussion studies conducted between 1996 and 2011 omitted over 100 diagnosed cases. And the league knew about it. Which is bad.

Let me explain.

Back in 1994, after a number of players retired early over concerns they were turning their brains into mush, the NFL commissioned a number of studies that collected all the concussion data available at the time, performed some calculations, and arrived at the conclusion that head injuries did not pose a serious long-term threat to players—which has been the NFL’s official position ever since. However, the New York Times discovered that the studies didn’t really collect all the concussion data available at the time.

When questioned by the Times, NFL officials conceded that “the clubs were not required to submit their data and not every club did.” Then they tried to frame the omission as an honest mistake, saying this fact “should have been made clear” and that there was no conspiracy “to alter or suppress the rate of concussions.” But of course that’s ridiculous. You don’t base policies on studies you know are based on incomplete data unless you know the incomplete data is going to skew the results in your favor. Period.

Besides, we know the NFL had previously lied about the data. The NFL’s research committee claimed that “all NFL teams participated” and “all players were therefore part of this study. However, Times found that most teams failed to report all of their concussions, and that approximately 10% of all head injuries failed to make it into the studies.

“It should be an unmistakable red flag that a team does not report any concussions over multiple years,” said Dr. Robert Cantu, one of the strongest critics of the NFL concussion studies.

The NFL has issued a statement claiming the studies investigated by the New York Times were conducted from 1996 to 2001, not 2011, and that they were considered provisional. But come on, with Jerry Jones walking around insisting there is no link between football and CTE, who the hell is going to believe the NFL?

Hat Tip – [New York Times, ESPN]

Tags: brain injuries, concussions, CTE, NFL,