Send to

Choose Destination
Orthop J Sports Med. 2015 May 4;3(5):2325967115583653. doi: 10.1177/2325967115583653. eCollection 2015 May.

Descriptive Epidemiology of Musculoskeletal Injuries and Concussions in the National Football League, 2012-2014.

Author information

Department of Family and Community Medicine, St Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



The risk of all-cause injury and concussion associated with football is significant. The National Football League (NFL) has implemented changes to increase player safety warranting investigation into the incidence and patterns of injury.


To document the incidence and patterns of all-cause injury and concussions in the NFL.


Descriptive epidemiology study.


Injury data were collected prospectively from official NFL injury reports over 2 regular seasons from 2012 to 2014, with identification of injury incidence rates and patterns. Concussion rate ratios were calculated using previously reported NFL rates.


A total of 4284 injuries were identified, including 301 concussions. The all-cause injury rate was 395.8 per 1000 athletes at risk (AAR) and concussion incidence was 27.8 per 1000 AAR. Only 2.3% of team games were injury free. Wide receivers, tight ends, and defensive backs had the highest incidence of injury and concussion. Concussion incidence was 1.61-fold higher in 2012 to 2014 compared with 2002 to 2007. The knee was injured most frequently, followed by the ankle, hamstring, shoulder, and head.


The incidence of all-cause injury and concussion in the NFL is significant. Concussion injury rates are higher than previous reports, potentially reflecting an improvement in recognition and awareness. Injury prevention efforts should continue to reduce the prevalence of injury associated with football.


National Football League (NFL); concussion; epidemiology; injury

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center