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Seahawks fined $100,000 for violating concussion protocol

Charles Robinson
NFL columnist

The NFL and NFL Players’ Association announced on Thursday that the Seattle Seahawks have been fined $100,000 for violating concussion protocol in regards to quarterback Russell Wilson during the team’s Nov. 9 game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The league and the union announced that they would investigate the Seahawks’ handling of Wilson the day after the Thursday night game; though Wilson did not suffer a brain injury on the play, Seattle did not follow the prescribed rules to determine whether he had before letting him back into the game.


The Seattle Seahawks have been fined for not properly following concussion protocol after game referee Walt Anderson suspected quarterback Russell Wilson, center, suffered a brain injury on Nov. 9 against Arizona. (AP)

Wilson had taken a shot to the chin from Arizona’s Karlos Dansby; Dansby was flagged for roughing the passer on the play. Referee Walt Anderson removed Wilson from the game to be examined, which should have triggered the concussion protocol, which should have meant Wilson being taken to the Seahawks’ locker room to be cleared by an independent doctor.

Instead, Wilson missed just one play.

Here is the text of the statement on the NFL-NFLPA decision; by rule, the Seahawks could have been fined up to $150,000:

“The NFL and NFLPA have jointly reviewed the application of the Concussion Protocol to Russell Wilson. The results of the joint review determined there was a failure in the application of the protocol following the tackle of quarterback Russell Wilson during the Seahawks-Cardinals game on November 9.

“As a result, Seattle has been fined $100,000 and the coaching and medical staffs will be required to attend remedial training regarding the protocol.

“The results of the joint review determined that the protocol was triggered when Mr. Wilson was directed to the sideline for an evaluation after the referee, Walt Anderson, concluded that a medical examination was warranted. Nonetheless, the required evaluation was not conducted and Mr. Wilson was permitted to return to the game without an evaluation. Once it is determined that a medical examination is warranted, a player may only be cleared to return by the medical staff; Mr. Wilson’s return to the field without a sideline concussion evaluation was therefore in violation of the Concussion Protocol. Subsequently the team medical staff did examine the player and clear him per the protocol.

“As determined by the NFL and NFLPA, an immediate update will be made to the protocol instructing officials, teammates, and coaching staff to take players directly to a member of the medical team for a concussion assessment. The NFL and the NFLPA will continue to look at potential modifications to the protocols in an effort to keep players safe.”