Sunday’s edition of “Face The Nation” received notoriety because it featured a live interview with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about some of the major issues involving the game today.
But the same episode is also getting attention for what was said by one of the network’s own announcers. Jim Nantz, CBS’ lead NFL announcer, threw out an unsubstantiated statistic regarding concussions, according to The Big Lead.
Jim Nantz went on “Face the Nation” Sunday morning and made the following claim, with Roger Goodell also on set: ”research shows that at the college level, a women’s soccer player is two and half times more likely to suffer a concussion than a college football player. I don’t hear anyone saying right now, ‘Should we put our daughter in these soccer programs?’”
That is an incredible claim. It’s one thing to defend a buddy and make claims that are opinions in support of him, it’s another to go on a national television program and throw out a number that women’s soccer players are 2.5 times more likely to get a concussion than football players. Where’s the proof?
NESN.com tried to find a study that backed up Nantz’s claim.
However, the “research” that Nantz cites can’t be found by those looking. In fact, some of the studies that have been unearthed while looking for one to corroborate Nantz’s claim seem to only refute him. One study, for instance, that was recently released, looked at the rates of concussions among high school students. Now, that study did find girl’s soccer to be fairly dangerous, ranking as the No. 2 source of concussions within the study. But the No. 1 sport was football, which saw three times more concussions than girl’s soccer.
The Big Lead also found another study, but said the claim seemed to be a stretch of the facts.
I did find one study, Concussions Among Collegiate and High School Athletes from 2007 in the Journal of Athletic Training. That found women’s soccer concussion rates basically equal to men’s football in college, but not high school. It reported rates of 6.3 per 10,000 exposures in women’s soccer vs. 4.9 for men’s soccer and 6.1 per 10,000 for men’s football. In high school, the rates for football were higher than both women’s and men’s soccer. That’s the most extreme case I can find, basically putting the concussion rates in the same range in college. It’s one study, and it is certainly not 2.5 times more, which would be incredible. Here’s a story from two days ago, citing the CDC in saying that high school football concussion rates are three times greater than the second highest sport, women’s soccer.
The statement also drew criticism from the ConcusssionsInc blog, citing Matt Chaney, the author of “Spiral of Denial.”
“Jim Nantz is a clown. His numbers are skewed for brain trauma in head-knocking football versus women’s soccer at colleges — like the bogus NCAA report last fall, allegedly documenting a mere 2.5 concussions for every 1,000 contact exposures in the game. Ridiculous. Considering the so-called symptoms of concussion — which aren’t scientifically defined or established, by any stretch yet — I had a brain trauma every time I suited up in full-contact college football, three to four days weekly during season.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor