More dan­ger lurk­ing on the field for pro foot­ball play­ers?

Modern Healthcare - - Front Page -

Con­cerns over in­juries have NFL play­ers bat­tling against a longer sea­son,

Is it pos­si­ble foot­ball is get­ting more violent? Prob­a­bly not, but it does seem in­creas­ingly dangerous—es­pe­cially in terms of head in­juries— ac­cord­ing to re­cently re­leased data.

The Na­tional Foot­ball League Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion’s injury re­port for the 2010 sea­son found that most injury cat­e­gories in­creased last sea­son, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous eight. One of the sharpest in­creases was in the rate of play­ers suf­fer­ing at least one con­cus­sion in the sea­son, which jumped from a low of 2% in 2006 to nearly 6% of play­ers in the lat­est sea­son.

The data was gath­ered by an in­de­pen­dent re­search firm for the NFLPA based on pub­licly avail­able data from Foot­ball Out­siders, a web­site for fans that pub­lishes game statis­tics and anal­y­sis.

Re­cent aca­demic re­search has pro­vided in­creas­ing ev­i­dence of long-term health prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with foot­ball in­juries, in­clud­ing the pos­si­ble in­creased like­li­hood of Alzheimer’s dis­ease or other prob­lems re­lated to head trauma. The league has in­creas­ingly ac­knowl­edged and fo­cused on brain in­juries this sea­son, and news re­ports in­di­cate that the grow­ing num­ber of re­ported con­cus­sions may stem, in part, from in­creased player aware­ness.

The injury re­port’s find­ings came as the play­ers union faced the de­mand of team own­ers that the ath­letes ac­cept a longer, 18-game sea­son or face a po­ten­tial lock­out. Play­ers counter that a longer sea­son would re­sult in ad­di­tional and more se­ri­ous in­juries.

Play­ers’ “health and safety are most im­por­tant,” said Domonique Fox­worth, a Bal­ti­more Ravens cor­ner­back and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the NFLPA, dur­ing a dur­ing a Jan. 11 con­fer­ence call with re­porters re­gard­ing health and safety is­sues. “When play­ers hear 18 games, they get re­ally up­set.”

The long-term ef­fects of brain in­juries are a grow­ing con­cern.

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