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Concussion report indicates sharp rise

The NFL said in a report released Friday that 271 concussions were documented during the 2015 season, an increase of 65 from the previous season. Of those, 182 came in regular-season games.

It is the highest number of reported concussions in an NFL season since 2012, when there were 261 reported.

The NFL revealed the statistics in its annual injury report, which includes concussions from preseason and regular-season practices and games.

NFL officials were encouraged last January when concussion data for 2014 revealed the fewest number of reported concussions since 2012. There were 206 concussions documented in 2014. NFL officials cited changes to in-game rules and practice schedules.

But Jeff Miller, the NFL senior vice president of health and safety policy, said the league's reporting of injuries changed this year to include more than simply players missing games, as in previous years. So it is uncertain if the increase in concussions compared with previous years is significant, or whether the decreased threshold for reporting and diagnosing concussions contributed to the higher incidence.

According to the league, there were eight documented concussions from regular-season practices and 81 during the preseason, including 52 in games.

"I think we're lowering the threshold," said Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, co-chairman of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee. "Years ago, you had to be nearly knocked down or knocked out for it to be called a concussion. Now, if a player gets knocked down and the injury is such that the head hits the ground and they stagger when they get up, the team trainer and physician will pull that player out. We've lowered the threshold."

Super motivation: Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he will be traveling to Super Bowl 50 with the championship ring he won as a linebacker with the Bears in Super Bowl XX. "I've tried to make the point that it represents everything that you've gone through and the people that have played," said Rivera, whose team faces the Broncos on Feb. 7. "It's not necessarily about the ring. It's the people it stands for." But that does not mean he'll be flaunting the ring. Rivera said he's not even sure he will show it to his players before they take the field.

Chargers stay put for now: Chargers chairman Dean Spanos says the team will play in San Diego in 2016 and he'll work with politicians and the business community to try to resolve a long, bitter battle over a new stadium. Spanos' statement was posted on the team's web site shortly after a report said the Chargers had reached a deal to join the Los Angeles Rams in a stadium expected to open in Inglewood in 2019.

Chiefs: Tight end Travis Kelce signed a $46 million, five-year extension. The deal includes $20.5 million in guarantees, the Associated Press reported. Kelce, 26, signed the deal while in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

Eagles: Offensive tackle Lane Johnson signed a six-year extension through the 2021 season, profootballtalk.com reported. The deal was reported to be worth up to $63 million, with $35.5 million guaranteed.

Lions: Matt Harriss was named vice president for football administration. Harriss spent the past 10 seasons with the Giants' football operations department.

Super Bowl 50

Panthers (17-1) vs. Broncos (14-4), 6:30 Feb. 7, Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif. TV: Ch. 10 Line/OU: Panthers by 6; 45

Concussion report indicates sharp rise 01/29/16 [Last modified: Friday, January 29, 2016 10:07pm]
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