Two weeks ago, Texans quarterback Tom Savage took a brutal hit to the head, and lay on the ground in a position that showed clear signs of a concussion. And yet, just a few minutes later, he was back in the game.
The complete breakdown of the NFL’s concussion protocol horrified anyone with a bit of a soul, and in response, the NFL has updated its protocols. As reported by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on Sunday, the NFL will take immediate action to get players who exhibit any hint of brain injury out of the game entirely. In addition, players will need to be re-evaluated prior to returning to on-field action.
— Audible Sports (@AudibleSports) December 11, 2017
Here, per ESPN, are the most significant changes:
• A central UNC will be stationed in the NFL’s command center to assist in broadcast oversight at each game;
• Any sign of impact seizure will be considered the same as loss of consciousness, and the player will be out for the game;
• A referee who removes a player from the game for suspected head trauma must notify the medical staff;
• A player who exhibits gross motor instability or significant loss of balance must be taken to the locker room for evaluation if it is not diagnosed as an orthopedic injury;
• A player who is evaluated for a concussion must be re-evaluated within 24 hours, even if the player has an off day;
• A third UNC will be on site for the playoffs and the Super Bowl, in addition to the two already assigned to each regular-season game.
This is designed to prevent debacles like the Savage drama from happening again; under these rules, Savage would have been sent straight to the locker room without the opportunity to return.
The NFL deserves praise for coming around to a cohesive concussion protocol, but it wasn’t anywhere close to perfect. This is another step in the right direction.
More NFL coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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• Gruden reportedly calling would-be assistants
• Star QB may return to UCLA to avoid being drafted by Browns
• Steelers cut 5-time Pro Bowler James Harrison