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

Leafs beat Nitehawks for 8th straight win

The win gives Nelson a provisional division lead

Castlegar march ensures missing, murdered aboriginal women not forgotten

About 60 people took part in the Valentine’s day memorial

Jenner scored 2 in debut as Leafs beat Thunder Cats

Nelson is on a seven-game winning streak

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Wet’suwet’en return to northern B.C. forest road pipeline workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Over a dozen birds found mysteriously dead on rural B.C road

Ministry of Agriculture notified of the strange occurrence on No. 4 Road in Abbotsford

B.C. men arrested after theft of heavy equipment leads to highway blockade

One man surrendered to police while the other was taken into custody the next morning, RCMP say

PHOTOS: Trans Mountain hosts mock oil spill response practice in Kamloops

Practice comes after an excavator accidentally struck the pipeline near Jacko Lake in mid-February

Federal Indigenous services minister meets First Nation at rail blockade

Blockade on Tyendinaga Mohawk territory near Belleville, Ont., is in its 10th day

Canada’s flag was flown for first time 55 years ago today

The flag is used to celebrate wins in sports, honour Canada Day, and flown at half-mast after tragedy

Most Read