Los Angeles Rams receiver Robert Woods stiff-arms Seattle Seahawks safety Delano Hill to pick up yards in the third quarter on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

NFL says concussions down 29 per cent in regular season

Of the 538 evaluations for concussions, the league says, 75 per cent ultimately showed no concussions

The NFL is encouraged by progress made in reducing concussions while stressing there is much more work to be done.

On Thursday, the league said the number of concussions dropped 29 per cent in 2018 from the previous season, according to preliminary data. It added that there were 135 documented concussions, down from 190. By including preseason games and practices, concussions fell from a high of 281 to 214, a 23.8 per cent decrease. That was the lowest total since the 2014 season (206 reported concussions).

Of the 538 evaluations for concussions, the league says, 75 per cent ultimately showed no concussions.

“As we like to say,” noted Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice-president of health and safety, “while we’re pleased with the fact that concussion numbers are down — and down significantly this year — when it comes to the health and safety of our players, there’s no finish line. This is a multi-year process. We’ll keep at this and we’ll try to figure out why these changes happened, and we’ll try to figure out where we set goals. There’s still room for improvement.”

READ MORE: Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

The league began releasing concussion data in 2012.

“It’s a significant decrease … but we’re also more interested in why that decrease happened, as opposed to what the number is,” Miller said. “That’s the sort of work we need to roll up our sleeves and do between now and the (NFL) combine (next month).”

The league also shared data with seven teams whose 2017 training camp practices resulted in a higher number of concussions. Six of those teams saw a reduction in training camp concussions in 2018, according to Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer.

Sills said the other 25 teams would also receive such information this year.

A commitment to in-depth helmet research helped lead to fewer concussions as well. The NFL created a checklist for players, ranking helmets in either green, yellow or red categories. Those in the red area will be banned starting this year.

For the 2017 season finale, 41 per cent of the players wore the higher-rated helmets. In 2018, that increased to 74 per cent, while only 2 per cent stuck with the lowest-ranked helmets thanks to a one-year grandfather clause.

More helmet testing will be done this year, with perhaps as many as 10 new models.

“We are excited and grateful for the changes that we’ve seen,” Sills said, “and we feel like this decrease is not a random variance but a reflection that the data-driven approach has made an impact.”

Also being researched are mouth guards with data-gathering sensors similar to what the University of Virginia team used in 2018. Miller said some players, likely on four teams, will test them.

The league also says the number of anterior cruciate ligament tears increased by three to a total to 57. And medial cruciate ligament injuries that caused players to miss playing time were down by 12, from 143 to 131. Sills said the NFL will target reducing other injuries, particularly to the lower body, this year. Among the categories to be researched are turf, cleats, training regimens, and the mechanics of the injuries.

“This is not a one-year project,” he said. “It’s an ongoing commitment on our part to drive down injuries, not only concussions, but also other parts of the body.”

READ MORE: Boys show concussion symptoms faster than girls, says study

___

Barry Wilner, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Alberni café, pair of teens rally support for Australia bush fire relief

Boomerangs Café plans three-day fundraiser; teens prepare to help in wildlife recovery

Agricultural Land Commission approves cannabis facility in Beaver Creek

Proposed facility outside Port Alberni had been caught up in ALR red tape

Alberni writer and poet to read at Words on Fire

Chelsea Comeau has her own freelance writing and editing business

North Island College hosting nursing info session

Info sessions will take place Monday, Jan. 27 at Port Alberni and Campbell River campuses

Photographer captures Port Alberni personalities in black and white portraits

Meet John Douglas, Courtney Naesgaard in double exhibit Jan. 18 at Rollin Art Centre

VIDEO: Bobcat infiltrates Shuswap couple’s coop, feasts on fowl

Police officers credited for attempting to assist with animal’s extraction

VIDEO: 17 Husky pups rescued from Interior B.C. property find new homes

The BC SPCA caught the moment on video the last puppy, Uki, met his owners

U.S. officials confirm first case of Wuhan coronavirus near Seattle

The U.S. is the fifth country to report seeing the illness

Police recover body of Tofino man in his 50s

An RCMP dive team has recovered the body of a Tofino man in his 50s.

Prince Harry reunites with Meghan and Archie in Victoria

Buckingham Palace said Tuesday it would not comment on private matters

Skier dies at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

Put away the shovels, week of rain ahead for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada calling for wet weather until Sunday

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Most Read