Durham-based Quintiles expands injury-tracking work for NFL

Pharmaceutical services giant Quintiles is expanding its work for the National Football League.

The Durham-based company announced Tuesday that it recently signed a five-year agreement that calls for it to track player injuries and gain insights into injury trends.

Quintiles has worked with the NFL since 2011 and, in the 2014-15 season, began tracking injuries using the NFL’s new electronic medical record, or EMR, system, which is used by the league’s 32 teams. Its work for the NFL is now known as the company’s injury surveillance and analytics service.

Quintiles is seeking insights on how rules, equipment and different field services may impact injuries.

“This partnership presents a unique opportunity for Quintiles to leverage our epidemiological and real-world research expertise,” Nancy Dreyer, senior vice president and global head of scientific affairs, said in a prepared statement.

The NFL has been under fire in recent years for injuries, especially concussions. The league reported last month that the rate of concussion fell 25 percent last season and 36 percent over a three-year span, according to the Associated Press.

Christina Mack, associate director of epidemiology at Quintiles, told the AP that the more in-depth tracking by the league is capturing less-severe injuries that might have been missed in the past. That may account for a 15 percent hike in overall injuries reported from 2013 to 2014.

“We knew it was going to be up this year, because we transitioned to the electronic medical records,” Mack said. “We can’t conclude the incidence of injuries is up. We know the reporting of injuries is up.”