Concussion Watch: NFL Head Injuries in Week 8

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At the midway point of the 2013 football season, NFL teams have reported an average of 8.3 new concussions per week, putting the league on course for a total of 140 head injuries for the year.

In all, teams have reported 58 concussions on the league injury report through the first seven weeks of the season, according to FRONTLINE’s Concussion Watch project tracking NFL head injuries. In 2012, teams reported a total of 171 concussions on the injury report.

At least four more players appeared to suffer concussions since our last Concussion Watch update at the end of Week 7:

Jeff Cumberland, New York Jets

The New York Daily News reported tight end Jeff Cumberland “suffered a mild concussion” during the Jets’ Week 8 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Cumberland left the game in the third quarter. Asked about the injury on Monday, Coach Rex Ryan would only say, “Yeah, he didn’t finish the game.”

Ryan promised to provide an update on Wednesday.  According to the Daily News, “it is likely he will be able to recover in time.”

Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh Steelers

ESPN reported that Steelers starting guard left the team’s Week 8 game with a concussion, but it’s not clear how he was injured.

Rey Maualuga, Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga (#58) is expected to miss about a month of play after suffering both a concussion and a sprained MCL during Cincinnati’s Week 8 win over the Jets. As ESPN reported:

With 4:16 left in the second quarter, Maualuga shot through a hole to prevent a first-down run by the New York Jets’ Chris Ivory. On the third-and-1, Maualuga got to Ivory a yard late, colliding with him at the end of a 2-yard run. A split second after impact was made, Mauluga’s body seemed to go limp, causing trainers to race out.

In a message to fans after the hit, Maualuga tweeted, “Everything will be ok. I’m good. Thank you all!”

Asked for an update on Maualuga the day after the injury, Coach Marvin Lewis told reporters, “No. We don’t talk about injuries.”

Will Rackley, Jacksonville Jaguars

“Guard Will Rackley was the Jaguars’ only reported significant injury” in Week 8, the team reported on its website. “He left the game in the first half after a blow to the head and did not return.”

Jacksonville has reported four concussions through the first half of the 2013 season, tied for second-most in the NFL behind the Detroit Lions.

Extra points

  • Elsewhere around the NFL this past week, legendary quarterback Brett Favre told a Washington sports station that less than three years since retiring, he has begun experiencing memory problems stemming from his repeated concussions in the league. “I think it takes a lot for him to acknowledge that at this point in his life because there are a lot of guys in his position who would just stay quiet,” Harry Carson, a Hall of Fame linebacker told FRONTLINE in response to Favre’s admission. “The culture of the game is you do not acknowledge your weaknesses … as a former player, we kind of take that into our personal lives.”
  • Meanwhile, a federal judge in Pennsylvania delayed a hearing to consider preliminary approval of the $765 million settlement reached by the NFL in August with more than 4,500 former players suing the league over their head injuries. NBC Sports reported the hearing was bumped “because the financial experts assessing the ability of the $765 million settlement to provide compensation to all retired NFL players who have or may have severe cognitive impairment need some extra time to prepare their reports.” In September, ESPN reporters and League of Denial authors Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru found that the proposed agreement may shut out the earliest players in the case to be diagnosed with football-related brain injuries.
Cincinnati Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga is taken off the field after being injured in the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
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