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NFL says number of concussions increased slightly in 2019

By Simmi Buttar

AP Pro Football Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL said on Thursday that the number of concussions players suffered increased slightly this season over 2018.

The league said there were 224 reported concussions, 10 more than in 2018. But those totals are way down from the 281 in 2017.

“We want to see head contact reduced,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer.

The total includes concussions from practices and games in both the preseason and regular season. The league said that it did 485 concussion evaluations in preseason and regular-season games this season.

The league said about one-third of concussion evaluations “have some element of self-report.”

A prominent recent example was Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who reported a concussion after Seattle’s Jadeveon Clowney hit him helmet-to-helmet from behind in the first quarter of a 17-9 loss in an NFC wild-card game. After that game, Stills called Wentz “heroic” for reporting his concussion.

The league also said that 99-plus percent of players were wearing “green” or best-performing helmets. Helmet safety is determined in laboratory studies. VICIS Zero1 was the top-rated helmet for three consecutive years. However VICIS, which started in 2013 and had included quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers as investors, entered into receivership last month after facing financial troubles.

The league said “lower extremity” injuries make up more than 60 percent of player injuries. The number of torn ACLs dropped by 10 to 47 from the 2018 season and was the lowest since at least 2012. And MCL tears went from 132 in 2018 to 109 this season, a 17 percent decrease.

The NFL made the announcements at its health and safety briefing.

•••

ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR NFL WIDE RECEIVER ANTONIO BROWN

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A warrant has been issued for the arrest of NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown following accusations that he and his trainer attacked another man near Brown’s Florida home.

Hollywood police spokesman Christian Latta said in a Wednesday news release that Brown faces charges of burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and criminal mischief.

Officers responded Tuesday afternoon to a disturbance call, where the alleged victim said Brown and his trainer, Glen Holt, hit him, police said. Holt was arrested a short time later and charged with one count of burglary with battery.

Officers attempted to make contact with Brown but were unsuccessful, Latta said.

Police didn’t immediately identify the alleged victim or what prompted the confrontation.

Brown, who is a free agent, played nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders last year but released before ever playing a regular-season game following several off-the-field incidents. He was then signed by the New England Patriots, who released Brown in September after a second woman in 10 days accused him of sexual misconduct.

•••

PATRIOTS ROOKIE ARRESTED

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — New England cornerback Joejuan Williams faces charges after being stopped by a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper for speeding on Interstate 40 on Jan. 17.

The trooper stopped Williams, the 45th pick overall in the 2019 NFL draft, at 9:37 p.m near mile marker 333 in Cumberland County. Williams, 22, was arrested for speeding along with possession of a controlled substance, possession of legend drugs without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to information from the THP.

Williams reportedly posted a $37,500 bond and was released Jan. 18 from the Cumberland County Jail with a hearing set for Feb. 21.

A Patriots spokesman said the team is aware of the reports of Williams’ arrest, but offered no further comment.

The Nashville native played at Vanderbilt before being drafted. He played nine games for the Patriots.

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