The NFL announced Thursday that the number of reported concussions during the 2019 season rose slightly from the previous campaign, per ESPN's Kevin Seifert.
There were 224 reported concussions in the 2019 preseason and regular season combined, compared to 214 in 2018. Both numbers are well down from 2017, when 281 concussions were reported, prompting the league to implement new safety rules.
Despite the slight increase in 2019, the numbers from the last two years will form a "new benchmark" for the future, according to Jeff Miller, the league's VP of health and safety initiatives.
"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."
After averaging 266.3 concussions per season from 2015-17, the NFL reworked kickoff rules and made it illegal for players to lower their heads to initiate contact with opponents.