NEW YORK: Concussions are a worsening problem for the NFL after league injury statistics released on Friday (Saturday in Manila) showed a 32 percent jump in the serious head injuries this past season.
Data revealed on Friday showed total concussions suffered in pre-season and regular season NFL games jumped from 206 in 2014 to 271 in 2015, with tighter concussion protocols requiring players to be examined if their status is in doubt.
In regular season games and practices alone, there were 190 concussions documented, a 35 percent leap from 2014.
The news comes 10 days ahead of Super Bowl 50, when the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers will meet for the NFL crown in the league’s annual championship spectacle.
The NFL toughened its concussion protocols and imposed stiffer penalties for blows to the head after there were 261 concussions reported in 2012.
But while the number had dipped for the prior two campaigns, this past season’s numbers show plenty of work remains to be done to protect players from head trauma.
A total of 92 concussions occurred due to contact with another helmet, one more than in 2012 when such impacts led to the rules crackdown and tougher medical standards to force players out of games until they were deemed medically fit by a doctor.
There were 29 concussions attributed to contact with the playing surface, the most in the past four seasons, and 23 due to being hit by the shoulder of an opponent.
Knee injuries were up last season, with 56 anterior cruciate ligament injuries up from 49 last season and 170 medial collateral ligament injuries, up from 139 the season before.
Injuries were down in games played on Sundays and Monday but up in those taking place on Thursday nights, when teams have had fewer rest days to recover from prior weekend contests. The injury rate per game was at 5.7 percent on Thursday compared to 4.8 last season.
In all, 6.6 injuries were sustained in a Sunday or Monday game, down from 7.3 in 2014.