In its latest Health and Safety report, the NFL says the number of concussions dropped 13 percent in 2013 from 2012, according to the Associated Press.
The number of concussions resulting from helmet-to-helmet hits dropped 23 percent. NFL senior vice president for health and safety Jeff Miller said the decreases are a sign of progress.
"That's not success, but that's a nice move in the right direction," said Miller. "When you talk about culture change and you look at that 23 percent number, there is something going on that is relevant. ... but we're very well aware that the progress that we've made, while good, indicates there is more work to be done, too, and we'll continue to pursue that."
The NFL has been taking steps in recent years to try and combat the number of head injuries and better treat those that do occur. Suspensions and penalties have been increased for helmet-to-helmet hits and hits on defenseless receivers.
Last season, the NFL began assigning independent neurologists on the sidelines and trainers in the press box to better spot and treat injuries, especially head injuries.
The NFL has faced multiple lawsuits relating to player safety in the past several years, most notably one from more than 4,000 retired players than claimed the league knew more about the dangers of head injuries than it let on. The NFL and the players agreed to an initial settlement in 2013. A revised settlement, still subject to approval, was agreed upon in June.
The NFL's report also showed that ACL injuries also fell in 2013, while the rate of MCL injuries remained about the same.
- Ben Estes