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NFL says number of concussions increased slightly in 2019

Seattle Seahawks' Jadeveon Clowney (90) hits Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz (11) during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia.

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL said on Thursday that the number of concussions players suffered increased slightly this season over 2018.

The league said there were 224 reported concussions, 10 more than in 2018. But those totals are way down from the 281 in 2017.

“We want to see head contact reduced,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the league's chief medical officer.

The total includes concussions from practices and games in both the preseason and regular season. The league said that it did 485 concussion evaluations in preseason and regular-season games this season.

The league said about one-third of concussion evaluations in the regular season “have some element of self-report.”

A prominent recent example was Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who reported a concussion after Seattle's Jadeveon Clowney hit him helmet-to-helmet from behind in the first quarter of a 17-9 loss in an NFC wild-card game. After that game, Sills called Wentz “heroic” for reporting his concussion.

The league also said that 99-plus percent of players were wearing “green” or best-performing helmets. Helmet safety is determined in laboratory studies. VICIS Zero1 was the top-rated helmet for three consecutive years. However VICIS, which started in 2013 and had included quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers as investors, entered into receivership last month after facing financial troubles.

The league said “lower extremity” injuries make up more than 60 percent of player injuries. The number of torn ACLs dropped by 10 to 47 from the 2018 season and was the lowest since at least 2012. And MCL tears went from 132 in 2018 to 109 this season, a 17 percent decrease.

The NFL made the announcements at its health and safety briefing.

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