NFL Concussions Down 20 Percent In The 2014 Season

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Monday, January 26, 2015 - 5:37pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.17 MB)
Matt Strasen/AP/NPR

PBS Frontline reported NFL concussions are down 20 percent this year. In the first 13 weeks of the season there were 96 concussions on team injury reports.

In 2010, the NFL adopted new rules to prevent head injuries. Dr. Javier Cardenas is the medical director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center and sits on the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine committee. He said the decrease in concussions can be attributed to changes the league has made.

“In large part because of some of the intervention targeting of another athlete with the head is illegal,” Cardenas said. “The number of contact practices during the season has been reduced.”

PBS Frontline reported one-third of all concussions are left off the NFL injury report because teams are only required to publicly report injuries on the weeks they are playing. Pre-season and post-season concussions and head injuries during bye weeks aren’t added to the official list.

Cardenas said he has seen more athletes report their own injuries.

“I’m really witnessing a culture shift where the athletes are taking better care of themselves,” he said.

Cardenas has also been involved in changing rules for high school athletics in ArizonaFootball teams have the reduced the numbers of contact practices, soccer teams have reduced the number of heading drills and when a player’s helmet comes off during play, he or she must sit out for at least one down.