The NFL said players were diagnosed with concussions 281 times during last year’s season, a new high since the league began tracking concussions consistently and sharing the data in 2012.
The total, which includes the preseason and regular season, eclipses the previous high of 275 in 2015.
“Certainly, we’re disappointed that the concussion numbers are up,” NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills said on a conference call on Friday. “It is something which challenges us now to roll up our sleeves and work hard to see that number go down. We take this as a challenge, because we’re not going to be satisfied until we drive that number much lower.”
During the call, concussions sustained during practices were an area of focus. There were 45 concussions in preseason practices and 11 in regular-season practices, both new record totals.
“That drove our attention after a couple of years where those preseason practice concussions decreased,” NFL executive vice president of health and safety initiatives Jeff Miller said. “This is an important aspect of the work we’ll be doing ... not just with the medical experts, but obviously how practices are run at the club level is something under the control of the coaches, the general managers and others who are on site.”
Alluded to during the discussion was whether the increase in concussions was due to a bump in self-reporting by players.
While concussions are up, statistics regarding anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries remained similar to 2016.
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