NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is happy to see a drop in the number of diagnosed concussions this season and said he thinks the new rule against lowering the helmet to initiate contact was a big part of that.
There was a 24 percent decline in concussions in the preseason and regular season, from 281 in 2017 to 214 this season. For the regular season only, there was a 29 percent decrease from 190 in 2017 to 135.
Speaking at Georgia Tech on Saturday ahead of the Super Bowl in Atlanta, Goodell credited the league’s approach for the reduction.
“I think we’ve been effective. I give credit to the players and coaches for the way they’ve played the game,” said Goodell, per ProFootballTalk.
The NFL said that 75 percent of the 538 sideline evaluations during games this season did not result in a concussion diagnosis.
“What’s really remarkable about a close to 30 percent reduction in concussions is we actually have more screenings,” Goodell added.
After seeing a spike in concussion figures in 2017, the league put a rule in place to prevent using the helmet to initiate contact. Changes also were made to kickoffs, with the elimination of any wedges (previously, two-man wedges had been allowed) and new formational rules that made the play more like a punt return, with fewer high-speed collisions.
Some of the credit also goes to advances in helmet technology. The league said 74 percent of players are using the latest protective headwear, compared to 41 percent in 2017.
–Field Level Media