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NFL Preseason Concussions Reduced from Last Year

The NFL effort to tackle the game’s concussion issue continues, and appears to be bearing fruit in the new season.

According to ESPN, the NFL is trying to reduce the number of concussions on a team-by-team basis.

The NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, spoke at the owners meeting in New York on Tuesday. He said the NFL targeted the seven teams in 2017 with the most concussions in preseasons. The league carried out “targeted interventions with those clubs”.

This involved everything from discussions, practice drills, and the assessment of player helmets.


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“In six of those seven clubs, the numbers did go down,” Sills said. “Those seven clubs had 23 practice concussions as a whole in 2017, down to nine in 2018.”

The results speak for themselves. The number of preseason concussions went down from 91 in 2017 to 79 in 2018. Additionally, there were no concussions from kickoff plays. Amid all the confusion about the new kickoff rule, perhaps people will now accept it as safer.

“We’re cautiously optimistic about that result,” Sills said.

“We are pleased to see that number go down, but we still have a lot of work to do. We are continuing a more in-depth analysis of the concussions that did happen during the preseason. Doing some of the same work we’ve been doing during the regular season, looking at video and seeing what the practice environment is — seeing who was injured in what role. We are going to be doing more of a deep dive into that.”


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Another concussion reducing initiative that the league has introduced is the new helmet rating system. Now, the league rates all helmets from green to red, depending on how safe they are. Red category helmets are banned from this season for new players. Next year, all players will be required to wear green category helmets. This gives the players a “grandfather year” to find a new helmet that they like if the one they currently wear is unsafe.

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s vice president of player safety, is positive about the results. He said that the number of red helmets was down from 230 last year to 40 this year, as of Week 3.

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