Robert Armstrong DO Comments on College Football Concussion Trend

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Outside of the Olympic Games, one of 2012's biggest sports stories has been the ongoing controversy surrounding the NFL, and the many players who have spoken out about the dangerous concussion risks that come from playing professional football. Professional ball players are not the only ones concerned about concussions, however. A new medical report suggests that the concussion rate has dramatically increased in college football, as well, citing sobering statistics from the 2011 season. The report has caught the attention of many physicians, including orthopedic specialist and sports medicine provider Robert Armstrong DO.

The study compares the number of reported concussions from the 2010 NCAA football season against the number from the 2011 season, and finds that the rate almost doubled within the span of a single season.

As the report acknowledges, however, there may be some debate as to whether the number of concussions is increasing, or the ability to identify and report concussions is improving. The article notes that, between these two seasons, a new league regulation was put into place, requiring players to be better informed about the risk of concussion. Some members of the medical community believe that the rate of college concussions has not increased, but awareness of it has. One such doctor is Dr. Robert Armstrong, who responds to the new study with a press statement.

"I do not necessarily believe that  more concussions are actually happening, but we certainly are recognizing them earlier and picking up on subtler types of injuries than we did in the past," says Dr. Robert Armstrong DO. in his press statement. "This hopefully will lead to better care and fewer poor long-term outcomes with these serious injuries."

Dr. Armstrong goes on to note that an increased awareness of concussions is, in itself, a positive step toward prevention and successful treatment. "Pre-season baseline testing certainly helps us detect these injuries and helps guide when a return to play can be more safely allowed," he says.

Meanwhile, Dr. Kelly G. Kilcoyne, one of the researchers in the new study, shares Dr. Armstrong's view that the seemingly increased concussion rate may be a matter of heightened awareness, not more numerous incidents. "The timing of the new NCAA regulations and the increase in reported concussions could certainly be attributed to under-reporting from players and coaches in the past," she says.

In the 2010 college football season, the number of reported concussions was 23, out of more than 40,000 athlete exposures. In 2011, the rate was found to be 42 concussions, coming from roughly 36,000 athlete exposures.