Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The number of reported and diagnosed concussions sustained by NFL players in 2019 was up 4.6 percent compared with 2018, according to data released by the league.
NFL players were diagnosed with 224 concussions in 2019, 10 more than reported in 2018. The league released the data Thursday.
The league reported during the preseason, concussions sustained during preseason practices dropped from to 30 in 2019 from 45 the year before, but t players sustained more concussions during 2019 preseason games than in 2018 preseason games.
Players sustained 49 concussions during 2019 compared with 34 during the 2018 preseason.
"Candidly, we need to have much more research by the [time of the NFL Scouting Combine]," NFL executive vice president of health and safety Jeff Miller told reporters. He said researchers should look at "how rules affect all injuries [and] whether rule changes were effective."
NFL players averaged 266.3 concussions per season from 2015 to 2017. Players sustained a record 281 concussions during the 2017 season.
The NFL banned several high-impact activities in May, including the Oklahoma Drill. The practice activity consists of pitting a blocker against a defender in a small area. Players run toward each other from 3 yards apart and slam into each other until one falls to the ground or is knocked out of bounds.
In 2018, the league banned players lowering their helmets to initiate contact against another player. The league eliminated blind-side blocks in 2019. Spotters stopped games a record 19 times this season to remove a player from the field for a concussion test.
The NFL said ACL tears were down from 57 in 2018 to 47 in 2019. MCL tears dropped from 132 to 109.
"From here on, we are going to be driving our concussion reduction efforts against that new benchmark," Miller said. "Last year's number was a substantial drop. This year's number is statistically similar to it. We feel as if we've found a new place from where we need to continue to push down the number of concussions."