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Super Bowl 50 is almost upon us and football frenzy is about to reach its annual heights. Parties are being planned, snacks prepared, and most-comfy-armchairs called. But before you settle in to see this year's big win, let's consider a few new and disconcerting facts about football, this classic American pastime.
Spoke Too Soon?
In recent years there has been reason to fear football -- evidence that concussions and other head injuries from play severely affected players later in life was undeniable. The National Football League (NFL) came under fire.
Last year, the NFL announced that concussions were down though, and boasted that the game of football was changing. Apparently that statement was premature, and the latest figures look much worse, according to ABC News.
Figures on concussions for 2015 showed a marked rise over the previous years, according to the NFL. The football league last week released the latest data and reported concussions rose 58 percent in regular-season games to the highest number in any of the past four years.
There were 182 reported concussions from 2015 regular-season games, reversing a recent downward trend that last year prompted claims that football had changed. The NFL reported 115 concussions in 2014, 148 in 2013, and 173 in 2012.
Interpreting the Numbers
While alarming, it is not yet clear what these latest figures showing a rise in conccussions represent exactly. Does an increase in reporting of concussions indicate that players are more conscious of injury, less self-conscious about admitting injury, or maybe both? Are games being played harder today? Or are savvy players preparing for the next big concussion suit?
It is hard to say, and the NFL is not jumping to conclusions, remaining noncommittal about a meaning behind the numbers. NFL Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy Jeff Miller told reporters that the league is trying to figure out why concussion numbers rose so much this season.