A recent study on ISU’s Pocatello campus has found that it could be possible that there are more concussions taking place in the NFL than are being reported.
Dr. Caroline Faure conducted this study by reaching out to the wives of NFL players, asking if their husbands had displayed any symptoms of concussions. 98 percent of those surveyed said they had observed behavior that suggested a player was concussed.
“I do a lot with concussions,” Faure said. “Especially how it pertains to the attitude towards the injury.”
Faure began her study in July, and it lasted the entirety of the 2017 NFL season. It consisted of two parts: surveys and phone interviews. She hopes this study will help give validity to NFL wives who see these symptoms in their husbands, as well as have future concussions treated more seriously. If left unchecked, according to Faure, concussions can cause a large amount of cognitive and physical deterioration to the point that the person can be left completely different from who they were before.
“We’re talking about their brains,” Faure said. “These sustained injuries to the head can often cause a lot of damage.”
One of Faure’s hopes for the study is to prompt the league to reach out to NFL wives so it can better recognize the symptoms of concussions. She also hopes the study will help NFL wives better assist their husbands.
This study was started after Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bündchen, made a public statement claiming her husband has had multiple concussions not reported by the NFL. She claimed there were multiple times her husband played, despite being obviously concussed. But both the NFL and the Patriots claimed to have had no knowledge of Brady having any concussions.
Because Brady has never been sidelined due to a concussion, Bündchen’s claims prompted the NFL to conduct an investigation where it publicly stated they have no record of Brady suffering from any concussions during his career.
Though many disputed Bündchen’s claims, Faure thought there was merit to them.
“Her statements were spot on,” Faure said. “If anyone knew these symptoms were present, it would be the woman Tom Brady goes home to every night.”
Earlier this season, the Seattle Seahawks were ordered to pay a fine of $100,000 for not following protocol when a referee sent Russell Wilson to the sidelines to be checked for a concussion after taking a hit during a game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Wilson was quickly put back into the game without being given the required concussion tests, but when he returned to the field, the referee sent him back off for further examination, which found that Wilson was not concussed. Regardless, the protocol set by the NFL was not followed. The Seahawks denied intentionally not following protocol but did not try to dispute the fine.
Another investigation was also conducted on how the Houston Texans handled a head injury received by Tom Savage during week 14 of the season in a game against the San Francisco 49ers.
“I don’t think [the study] is going to change football or the NFL by any means,” Faure said, adding that she hopes the NFL will provide the resources needed to take care of any players whose lives are permanently changed due to concussions.
Faure said that she would like to clarify that while it “can be reasonably concluded” that not all concussions in the NFL are being reported, it is impossible to know for sure without an examination of each player at the time of the injury.