New video review brings concussion data for NFL

New video review brings concussion data for NFL
Helmet photo

New video review brings concussion data for NFL


NEW YORK, NY—Leading biomechanical engineers have completed a comprehensive video review of player impacts to better understand concussion-causing events in the NFL. The data, released today, is being shared widely with helmet manufacturers, designers, innovators, entrepreneurs, universities and others to stimulate new ideas and designs for protective equipment.

The video review and biomechanical research is one component of the Engineering Roadmap—a $60 million comprehensive plan funded by the NFL and managed by Football Research, Inc. (FRI) to improve the understanding of the biomechanics of head injuries in professional football and create incentives for innovators around the world to develop new and improved protective equipment.

Dr. Jeff Crandall, Director of the Center for Applied Biomechanics at The University of Virginia and Chairman of the NFL Engineering Committee, led a team of experts to compile this data by analyzing video of all 459 reported concussions sustained in NFL games during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Dr. Crandall and his team reviewed concussion-causing impacts to examine various factors such as the angles at which collisions occur and how they vary by position. With more data available on the types of impacts that cause head injuries, the engineering design of helmets and other protective equipment can be more targeted.

Key findings from the review:

  • Compared to previous studies, the distribution of helmet impact source has shifted toward a higher proportion of helmet-to-body (particularly shoulder) impacts and helmet-to-ground impacts, and toward a lower proportion of helmet-to-helmet impacts.
    • Helmet-to-body: 45%
    • Helmet-to-helmet: 36%
    • Helmet-to-ground: 19%
  • The greatest percentage of concussions are experienced by a player tackling an opponent (as opposed to being tackled or blocking, for example):
    • Tackling: 41%
    • Tackled: 22%
    • Blocking: 19%
    • Blocked: 11%
    • Diving/Leaping: 5%
    • Other: 2%
  • The side of the helmet is the most common helmet impact location with more than 50% of concussions involving this location.
  • Among position groups, cornerbacks sustained the most concussions, followed by wide receivers, then linebackers and offensive linemen.
Position % Concussions from Video Review
Cornerback 22%
Wide receiver 15%
Linebacker 11%
Offensive line 11%
Safety 10%
Running back 10%
Tight end 8%
Defensive line 6%
Quarterback 5%
Kicker 1%


  • Almost half (44%) of concussions occurred during a passing play, 30% during a rushing play, 21% on a punt or kickoff, 4% on a sack and 1% on a field goal.
  • Helmet-to-ground concussive impacts were notable for the high prevalence of impacts to the back of the helmet (35%) and their frequency during passing plays.

The data will also be reviewed by the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and made available to independent medical experts, clubs, players, coaches and the NFL Competition Committee to guide them in making changes to the rules of the game. Since 2002, the NFL has made 47 rules changes intended to eliminate potentially dangerous tactics and reduce the risk of injuries, especially to the head and neck.


Release by

Previous articleTop Drops for Week 10 of FF
Next articlePatriots bring back former tight end, Martellus Bennett