It feels a bit odd to say that a spike in concussions is a good thing for a sports league, but in the case of the NFL, it’s probably true.
The 197 concussions reported by the NFL so far this season is the league’s highest number since data began being formally recorded by Frontline back in 2012. This year’s number is a 60 percent increase from last year’s 123, which means that players are either taking significantly more violent shots to the head or — more likely — teams are doing a better job of complying with the league’s concussion protocol and reporting these head injuries.
Concussions have become a hot-button issue for the NFL, as mounting scientific evidence suggests that football causes brain trauma and CTE in its players. More and more former players are coming forward with their stories of health and personal struggles due to head injuries throughout their career. Oh, and there’s currently a major motion picture in theaters that details the league’s denial and attempt to cover up such issues.
So, yes, it’s probably a good thing that the league’s concussion numbers are up, because it means they’re being recorded, which is a huge part of protecting players. We’ve seen plenty of cases in past years where guys appear to suffer damaging blows to the head that go untreated or unreported (and it still happens), and that’s the scariest situation possible.
For a more detailed look at the league’s concussion data, you can head to Frontline’s Concussion Watch site.