A Call for Injury Reports

October 5, 2018

Information on which college football players are injured and which are healthy has always been hotly sought and closely guarded. However, when a Supreme Court ruling in May made sports wagering legal across the country, the desire to access this data got a lot more serious—increasing the odds that athletic trainers and players themselves will be hassled for answers.

In response, the NATA is recommending that college football programs adopt a standard injury report, similar to the procedure used in the NFL, according to a column in the Chicago Tribune. NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer at Northwestern University, believes the new reporting requirement could be in place by the 2019 season.

The national college injury report recommended by the NATA differs from the NFL’s in key ways. Instead of identifying players as “questionable,” “doubtful,” or “out,” as the NFL does, the college report would have only two categories: “Out—will not play,” and “Doubtful—unlikely to play.”

“The focus is on availability,” Lindley said. “When you say ‘questionable,’ it can create more speculation and people (bettors) hovering.”

Another key difference would be in the specificity of information. The NFL report discloses which body part a player has injured, while the proposed college report would only list “upper body” or “lower body,” with players having the option of consenting to release more.

The NATA is also suggesting two injury reports a week. The first would be released on Sunday or Monday, a move the NATA hopes will prevent speculation and questions during the week. A second report would probably go out on Thursday afternoon, with coaches hoping that timing will make it too late for the information to be very useful to opponents.

“If you wait until Friday [to release any information], that leaves the vultures circling all week,” Lindley said.

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