NFL makes major changes to concussion protocol
The NFL is making major changes to league concussion protocol after a number of instances have popped up recently where players who were clearly at risk and displaying signs of trauma were allowed to remain in the game.
ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen reported a number of updates to the concussion protocol on Sunday, beginning with news that the NFL would install a centralized system to allow a neurotrauma doctor to stop games when they spot players exhibiting symptoms of a concussion. Like when they moved replay reviews to the league offices, that consultant will monitor all game broadcasts.
The NFL is also requiring referees who stop the game to get a player showing signs of a concussion off the field to notify that team’s medical staff to ensure that player actually receives treatment. It was an issue when Russell Wilson pretended to get checked out before returning to a game earlier this season.
Moving forward, any players who exhibit signs of impact seizure will be ruled out for the remainder of the game and all players who are evaluated for a concussion will be required to be reevaluated — even on an off day — after 24 hours, without exception.
Ultimately, all of these rules are designed to help seal up some gaping cracks in the current protocol and to make sure that players can’t pretend they aren’t affected so that they can continue playing. It’s not guaranteed to solve all the NFL’s problem with regards to concussions, but it’s needed progress at a time when concussion monitoring only seems to be getting harder.