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NHL concussions on rise, accidental hits blamed

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says preliminary results show that concussions are on the rise this season, but mostly from accidental contact and not from illegal hits to the head.

In a detailed report given to the league's board of governors on Saturday during NHL All-Star weekend, the relatively new rule banning blindside hits to the head - in its first full season - is working. The increase in concussions and games players lost to them is now being blamed by inadvertent contact, Bettman says.

The issue of concussions was already a hot topic in the NHL before the league's biggest star, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, was forced to sit out this weekend's festivities because of a concussion sustained this month.

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