As the NFL continues pursuing its goal to make the league safer than it's ever been, a new study has been released detailing the number of players who suffered concussions this past year.
The study said that rate of concussions among NFL players fell 25% this past season. The findings, which were provided to The Associated Press, shows there were 111 concussions in games during the 2014 regular season, down from 148 in 2013, and 173 in 2012.
That's a 36% drop over that three-year span, which is a good sign that players safety is improving, while helmet-to-helmet hits are also being reduced. The study included preseason games and preseason/regular-season practices, which recorded 202 concussions altogether this season. That's a decline of 12% from 2013 and 23% from 2012.
"Players are changing the way they're tackling," NFL Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy Jeff Miller said. "They're changing the way they play the game. You have to play more than two games to get a concussion in the NFL, by those numbers."
A total of 59 concussions were caused by helmet-to-helmet or shoulder-to-helmet hits this season, the league's data says, almost exactly half as many as two years ago.
"With all the technological innovations that we've had over the past few years, I'm surprised the numbers keep going down," St. Louis Rams team doctor Matthew Matava said. "Because you'd think, with more vigilance, you'd see more of any sort of condition."
Despite the good news on concussions, players are still being injured at an alarming rate. There were 265 players placed on injured reserve during the regular season in 2014, a 17% jump from the 226 placed on IR the year before. The league's main goal of preventing concussions, which lead to more long-term health concerns, seems to be getting moving in the right direction.
However, we still are a long way from making the game safer overall while keeping it mostly the same, which might be impossible to do.