The NFL’s chief medical officer said this week that last year’s increase to 281 reported concussions was a “call to action,” and that an increase in players self-reporting concussions shouldn’t be viewed as a positive step on its own.
Dr. Allen Sills spoke to the league’s head, neck, and spine committee in Indianapolis, and urged them to continue to work to force the number lower.
“It’s not OK to simply stand behind that and say, ‘Well, the numbers are going up because we’re doing a better job,'” Sills told the group, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. “I think to me this is really a call to action to see what we can do to drive it down.”
The 281 last season was up from 250 in 2016, and 47 percent of the concussions last year were self-reported.
Sills outlined three paths the league hopes will bring the numbers of total concussions down, including the use of safer helmets, increased emphasis on preseason concussions by pointing out warning signs to teams, and working with football operations to adapt the style of play.
Even as the league has tried to fine the problem away, too many players have too many old habits in regards to hitting with or at heads.