Concussion Watch: NFL Head Injuries in Week 13

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is assisted off the field after injuring himself during a play in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Baltimore.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is assisted off the field after injuring himself during a play in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

December 3, 2013

The number of NFL concussions officially hit triple digits last week, as 14 new head injuries were added to the league injury report. The season total now stands at 102.

With just four weeks left in the regular season, cornerbacks (18) have suffered more head injuries than any other position. The Jacksonville Jaguars have reported more concussions than any other team in the league (7), while just one team, the Buffalo Bills, has yet to report any.

In Week 13, another 11 players appeared to suffer a head injury. These are the names that we’re watching for on the next NFL injury report, as well as our roundup of the top concussion-related headlines from the past week:

Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers & Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens

A goal-line collision with Jimmy Smith of the Ravens sent Le’Veon Bell’s helmet flying from his head and left the Steelers running back with his first concussion of the 2013 season. Smith (#22) also suffered a concussion on the play.

Bell, a rookie running back, said he didn’t remember the hit, according to ESPN, but added that he hasn’t experienced many lingering symptoms. “It was definitely an ugly hit,” Bell said. “I’m just glad nothing seriously wrong happened. I’m just glad to be OK.”

Smith, who was added to the league’s concussion protocol, “was doing well right after the game,” said Ravens Coach John Harbaugh. “… You never know with that, but it looks like he’s going to be able to even practice on Wednesday, so we’ll be feeling good about that.”

Reed Doughty, Washington Redskins

Reed Doughty suffered his second concussion in less than two months during Week 13, though it wasn’t immediately clear which play he was injured on.

Doughty missed one game after his first concussion, which came in Week 7 against the Bears. He is one of five players to suffer repeat head injuries during the 2013 season. In 2012, a total of 10 players sustained multiple concussions.

Anthony Fasano, Kansas City Chiefs

Anthony Fasano left Week 13 in the second half after his head crashed into the turf while attempting to haul in a pass from Alex Smith.

“Fasano appeared woozy as he walked to the sideline and did not return,” reported The Associated Press.

Coach Andy Reid said Fasano would be added to the league’s concussion protocol, but he had no firm timetable for his return.

“I’ve got to see how he is here over the next couple days. You see all different kinds of these things,” Reid said. “I’m not here to rate him. I’m not a doctor. But just going off the symptoms he presented to us, he was feeling good today, so we’ll see.”

Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders

Rashad Jennings hobbled off of the field in Week 13 after he was momentarily knocked unconscious in the fourth quarter.

The injury came at the end of an 8-yard gain by Jennings. “Safety Jeff Heath was making [a] bee line to try and make the tackle but Jennings was tripped up by safety Barry Church and was going down already,” SB Nation reported. “Heath tried to pull up only to have his knee hit Jennings in the back of the helmet.”

Coach Dennis Allen confirmed the concussion after the game.

Jake Long, St. Louis Rams

The Rams lost Jake Long (No. 77 in the clip below) to a concussion in the third quarter of Week 13 after a helmet-to-helmet collision with teammate Zac Stacy.

“Long stayed down and seemed to be in pain, although he did walk off the field under his own power,” according to NBC Sports.

Jeff Maehl, Philadelphia Eagles

Two Eagles players have been sidelined by a concussion in 2013, and in Week 13 wide receiver Jeff Maehl may have become the third.

It’s not clear how Maehl was injured, and in post-game remarks, Coach Chip Kelly had little to add on the injury. Asked whether Maehl had suffered a concussion, Kelly responded, “I don’t know the exact thing. They said he got in the head.”

Eric Martin, Cleveland Browns

Eric Martin was ruled out of returning to the game after leaving the field with a concussion, CBS Sports reported. Martin was one of two Browns, along with quarterback Brandon Weeden, to suffer a head injury in the game.

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings

Christian Ponder was ruled out of the second half of the Vikings’ Week 13 game with the Bears after suffering a concussion late in the second quarter. “Ponder, who was sacked three times in the first two quarters, appeared to be hurt when he was hit by Bears defensive end Shea McClellin,” NBC Sports reported.

Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

Titans tight end Delanie Walker was removed from the game in Week 13 after his head slammed into the turf on an incomplete pass in the first quarter. The Titans tweeted soon after that Walker had a concussion and would not return.

Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

Brandon Weeden threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns in Week 13, but was diagnosed with a concussion after the game.

Weeden was filling in for Jason Campbell, who suffered a concussion of his own just one week earlier. Browns Coach Rob Chudzinski told reporters that he had no idea when Weeden became injured, according to The Plain Dealer, but said it was not unheard of for a quarterback to wait until after the game to report concussion symptoms.

“I’ve seen it happen before,” Chudzinski said.

Around the League

  • Five former members of the Kansas City Chiefs filed a lawsuit against the team seeking damages for head injuries they allegedly suffered while with the franchise. In August, the NFL reached a $765 million settlement with more than 4,000 former players suing the league over the head injuries. What makes the Kansas City lawsuit unique, is that it is the first such case brought against an individual team.
  • In an interview with NPR’s Only A Game, Steelers Legend “Mean Joe” Greene said he was disturbed by findings in the recent FRONTLINE film League of Denial that showed the NFL refuted research suggesting a link between football and long-term brain injury. “They knew,” said Greene. “They knew and they should have given me, and all of us, an opportunity to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The dishonesty got underneath my skin a great deal.”

Jason M. Breslow

Jason M. Breslow, Former Digital Editor



In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

Mass Shootings, a Supreme Court Ruling, Bipartisan Legislation: How America Reached This Moment on Guns
FRONTLINE has been chronicling America’s dialogue on guns for years. Get the backstory on the recent news in these documentaries.
June 29, 2022
The Supreme Court Has Overturned 'Roe v. Wade.' These Documentaries Show How We Got Here.
Overriding nearly five decades of legal precedent, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S. These documentaries offer context on how America reached this moment.
June 24, 2022
Why the Black Educator Forced Out Over Bogus Critical Race Theory Claims Wanted to Share Her Story
ProPublica reporter Nicole Carr explains why educator Cecelia Lewis was hesitant to speak to reporters about white parents forcing her out of her job and why she ultimately decided she had to.
June 18, 2022
White Parents Rallied to Chase a Black Educator Out of Town. Then, They Followed Her to the Next One.
Cecelia Lewis was asked to apply for a Georgia school district’s first-ever administrator job devoted to diversity, equity and inclusion. A group of parents — coached by local and national anti-CRT groups — had other plans.
June 16, 2022