The number of concussions in the NFL decreased by 11.3 percent during the 2016 season, according to injury data released by the league last week.

Data put together by QuintilesIMS Injury Surveillance and Analytics found there were 244 cases of diagnosed concussions in all preseason and regular-season games and practices.

While the number is down from a high of 275 during the 2015 season, it is still higher than the 206 reported in 2014 and 229 reported in 2013.

The league attributed the overall increase during those seasons to better awareness about the effects of concussions and a greater likelihood that players would report concussion symptoms.

“We’ve also seen an increase in self-reported concussions this year over last year, with last year being the first year that we really saw a significant number of self-reported concussions,” said Dr. John York, chairman of the NFL owners’ Health and Safety Advisory Committee. “So those all are all good changes with regards to the concussion protocol. And I would also say that they have an effect that may cause an increase in the number of concussions that we identify.”

NFL Rule Prioritizes Player Safety with Rule Changes

The NFL has come under fire in recent years over concerns that the league hid information about effects of concussions and did not work to protect its players.

Since 2002, the league has made 42 rule changes to protect players and strengthen medical protocols.

The number of in-game concussions showed a decrease of 8.7 percent during 2016. The number went down to 167 from 183 in 2015.

The league attributes the falling number to several in-game changes, including the addition of a second independent certified athletic trainer (ATC spotter) in the game to look for potential injuries.

“The ATC spotters are calling down to the field more frequently and they’re calling down conservatively,” Dr. Christina Mack, director of epidemiology and outcomes research with QuintilesIMS, said. “Almost 70 percent of the players called (for examination) by an ATC are cleared to return to play after examination.”

Another change the league noted in its announcement was a new kickoff rule implemented in 2016. Concussions suffered on kickoff returns slightly decreased from 20 to 17, which may be attributed to the league’s rule that moved touchbacks up to the 25-year line to discourage players from returning kickoffs. NFL owners will vote on the one-year experiment to decide whether to keep the rule.

NFL Remains ‘Far From Satisfied’ With Results

While the NFL has made strides over the years on player safety, the league plans to continue working on ways to decrease concussions.

“I’m encouraged that the numbers are down, but I’m still far from satisfied.” Dr. Mitchel Berger, member of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee, said. “As a health care provider, I think, one of our absolute highest priorities is to get these numbers further down. We’re going to have to really think about the ways we can do this. … We’ve got to drill down into the Quintiles numbers and work with the medical committees and try to come up with some other ideas with how we can decrease the numbers.”

Aside from rule changes, the NFL is also looking into more experimental methods to decrease concussions. A company called VICIS, which won some funding through the league’s Head Health Challenge, is currently working with the NFL and colleges to bring a new helmet technology to players.

The Zer01 helmet features multiple layers to reduce impact forces and minimize the likelihood of concussions from collisions.

The NFL continues to struggle with public perception after thousands of lawsuits over the years over concussion injuries led to a $1 billion settlement between the league and players.

Just last week the NFL found that the Miami Dolphins did not follow protocol after quarterback Matt Moore was hit by Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree in an AFC wild-card playoff game. The Dolphins were issued a warning by the NFL and NFL Players Association.

“We always put health and safety of our players first and foremost. That is always going to be a focus of our organization,” Dolphins vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum said, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The team may also be subject to additional violations, including a fine up to $150,000.