Four professional concussion spotters at Super Bowl LII; NFL releases injury data from 2017-2018 season; New video spotlights concussions during 2017-2018 NFL season; New concussion tools on the horizon

ESPN | Kevin Seifert: An estimated 103.4 million people watched the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots in the 2018 Super Bowl. However, there were four people in attendance most likely watching the game more closely than anyone. Who am I speaking of? Well, the NFL had four independent concussion specialists watching every second of the game to ensure players who needed medical attention could be flagged and pulled from the competition. Since 2014, the NFL has placed at least one unaffiliated neurological consultant on the sideline of every game. The consultants work with team physicians and athletic trainers to spot and pull players suspected of sustaining a head injury. Super Bowl LII marks the first time in history that the NFL has ever used four spotters during one game.

NFL: A staggering 281 concussions were recorded during the 2017-2018 football season, according to a recent report released by the NFL. This record high since 2012 averages out to more than 13 concussions per week. The report includes injury data from 2012-2017 for the incidence of reported concussions in the preseason and the regular season.

Incidence of concussions from 2012-2017
Incidence of concussions from 2012-2017. (NFL/2017 Injury Data)

The Intercept | Josh Begley: Directed by Josh Begley and produced by Laura Poitras, the new short film “Concussion Protocol” is a visual compilation of every concussion broadcasted during the 2017-2018 NFL season. The way that Begley splices these scenes together is both brilliant and gut-wrenching to watch. “I hope to make strange what has for many of us become normative: the spectacular, devouring moment of a football hit that knocks a player out cold,” wrote Begley in his article.

NFL | Kevin Patra: The NFL’s third annual “1st and Future” event took place on February 3, 2018. This “Shark Tank” style pitch competition is hosted by the NFL and its partners for innovative startups looking to raise money to jump-start their business. This year’s winner in the category of Advancements in Protective Equipment is Impressio, Inc., which utilizes liquid-crystal elastomers (LCEs) to design equipment that can help absorb energy from hits. The group hopes it can one day replace the foam padding in helmets with their product and reduce head injuries.