NFL players suffered almost a third fewer concussions in the 2018 regular season, the league reported Thursday (via NFL.com), potential anecdotal evidence that rules changes implemented for this season resulted in the desired result.
The numbers, released Thursday by the NFL, show a 29 percent decrease in concussions from 2017 to 2018. There were 135 diagnosed player concussions in 2018, down from 190 the regular season before.
The news comes after league rules put in place last offseason that moved to prevent initiating contact with the helmet and mitigate potential head injuries on kickoffs after a spike in concussions in 2017.
“We’re certainly pleased with the progress on concussion reduction,” league executive VP for health and safety Jeff Miller said. “There is a lot more work to do.”
It will take more than one season’s worth of data to determine whether the year-over-year pattern proves to be an actual trend.
There were other factors that may have contributed, beyond the point of emphasis in rules changes.
For example, some 74 percent of NFL players this season were using more technologically advanced helmets, a jump from 41 percent in 2017 and a number that will increase again in 2019 because the league will ban the poorest performing helmet models, based on statistical analysis.
According to the league, the number of in-game sideline concussion evaluations remained high, at 538, although 75 percent of those evaluations did not result in a concussion diagnoses.