In 1931, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) initiated the First Annual Survey of Football Fatalities to facilitate the tracking of football-related fatalities. This research project moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1965 under the directorship of Carl Blyth, and research in this area has been conducted there ever since.
Consequently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) initiated a National Survey of Catastrophic Football Injuries in 1977 through the University of North Carolina to begin to track catastrophic football injuries. As a result of these research projects, important contributions to the sport of football have been made. Most notable have been the 1976 football rule changes, the NOCSAE football helmet standard, improved medical care for athletes, and better coaching techniques.
Due to the success of these two football projects, the catastrophic sports injury research was expanded to encompass all sports for both men and women competing at the high school and collegiate levels. This prompted the establishment of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research (NCCSIR) in 1982 under the directorship of Dr. Fred Mueller. The decision to expand the catastrophic sports injury research was based on the following factors:
- To increase awareness and improve sports safety, it is essential that research be based on reliable data.
- There is an overall lack of information on sports injuries in all sports.
- Even though the amount of information about sports injuries is expanding, information regarding women’s sports injuries is lacking.
Each year three annual reports are compiled: Annual Survey of Football Injury Research, Annual Survey of Catastrophic Football Injuries, and Catastrophic Sports Injury Research Annual Report. For more information on these reports, please see the Reports tab located at the top.