DENVER (CBS4) – Fans are excited to see Wes Welker back on the field after a five-week injury “vacation”– but probably no one is happier than the Broncos themselves — or with the exception of Welker himself.

Even with more stringent reporting rules on the part of the NFL, coming up with a hard figure for the number of concussions this season is difficult — some don’t reported during the season — others simply stop getting reported as of the day the season is over for a particular team.

For example. all of the teams that didn’t make the playoffs did not file a publicized injury report for the week they played their final game; and teams eliminated in the first round of the playoffs didn’t either.

But there are a number of folks who officially and unofficially keep tabs on head injuries — their numbers to date range from 160 concussions to 210 concussions.

Which position is at highest risk for a closed head injury?

Using the sources above, all agree that defensive backs are without doubt most likely to be removed from a game because of a blow to the head.

Using the one source that placed the number on the low end, and stopped counting after the next to last game of the regular season, here’s how it all broke down by position:

Cornerbacks:     22

Safeties:              20

Receivers:           19

Tight Ends:         16

Linebackers:       15

Running Backs:  15

Defensive Ends:  11

Off. Guards:         9

Off. Tackles:         8

QB:                        6

Centers:               4

Def. Tackles:       4

These numbers don’t take into account guys who are listed under one position, yet get hurt playing special teams, i.e.. covering a kickoff.

I was surprised to see a lower number of quarterbacks, but not surprised at the defensive backs — who often work up a head of steam to clock a ball carrier in a less congested area of the field. The same goes for receivers, who even with a head on a swivel, can get nailed as they lay it out on a slant or crossing pattern…and can’t see who is waiting to plant a hit.

In any case, it’s good to see Welker good to go. It’s a risky game. And the more we learn about concussions, the more we realize how little we do know.



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