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Officials will be asked to look for concussions

Pete Carroll AP

There’s some good news regarding the procedures for identifying concussions during games.  Specifically, the league realizes more work needs to be done.

The bad news is that the league will address the situation by foisting even more work on guys who already have plenty to do:  Game officials will be asked to keep their eyes open for players who possibly have suffered concussions.

“The NFL Injury and Safety Panel met in New York on Tuesday and discussed a variety of subjects, including further steps that can be taken with respect to concussion awareness,” the league said in a statement released to the media.  “Our game officials will receive concussion awareness training and will remain alert to possible concussions during games.  This week’s training tape for the game officials will identify concussion signs and symptoms that they should be alert for.  If an official believes a player may have suffered a concussion, he should take appropriate steps to alert the team and get medical attention for the player.”

It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not nearly enough.  Game officials’ plates are full.  Someone needs to be monitoring the field of play for evidence of possibly concussed players with only one job — monitoring the field of play for evidence of possibly concussed players.

Anyone who reads this site on a semi-regular basis knows that PFT has advocated the use of a safety official in the replay booth, who’ll buzz down to an independent neurologist whenever a player needs to be evaluated.

The current change arises from the recent concussion (and subsequent seizure) suffered by Chargers guard Kris Dielman, who remained in a game after suffering a concussion and stumbling to the ground in plain view of two officials.

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49 Responses to “Officials will be asked to look for concussions”
  1. smacklayer says: Nov 2, 2011 5:13 PM

    Great, let’s pile more stuff on the refs to look for. They are clearly not busy doing anything during game considering how perfect their track record is this year!

  2. mrfusion123 says: Nov 2, 2011 5:15 PM

    This is just preposterous…..these guys aren’t trained doctors. Good Lord….if you want to do something take away “team doctors” and employ all team physicians, doctors, etc by the league.

    Roger Goodell, you are the worst commissioner in the history of sports

  3. canadianvikingfaniii says: Nov 2, 2011 5:16 PM

    Not only is the officiating pretty bad they are oblivious to some players who are truly injured or not well.

  4. isphet71 says: Nov 2, 2011 5:16 PM

    no no no no no. Officials are not medical experts. They already have too much they are responsible for in a game.

    Have one NFL medical expert on hand for the games specifically to monitor concussions. The NFL already has ambulance crews on standby, why not use those guys? I would trust them to be able to diagnose a possible concussion before a zebra.

  5. b7p19 says: Nov 2, 2011 5:21 PM

    Don’t like it. Officials aren’t doctors.

  6. skinsrock says: Nov 2, 2011 5:22 PM

    They should just let them play like the good ol’ days… These stories of savage & survival like the story of Mike Webster help promote the game… Isn’t that all Goodell cares about?

  7. damko12 says: Nov 2, 2011 5:24 PM

    Soon NFL games will be 6 hrs long

  8. njhitman says: Nov 2, 2011 5:24 PM

    OMG So the ref’s will be DR’s now hmmmm They can’t even get a call right noless seeing if a player has an concussion . By the 4th qt the water girls be playing as back ups

  9. hrmlss says: Nov 2, 2011 5:28 PM

    Paging Dr. Hoculi.

  10. leftcoastnative says: Nov 2, 2011 5:28 PM

    Horrible, horrible and more horrible decision by the NFL to put the responsibility for detection of concussions on officials who already have their hands full with monitoring 22 players on the field.

    What ever happened to the independent neurologist, not a team doctor, who was to be assigned sideline duty for each game?

    This latest dodge by NFL and Goodell is criminal and totally lacks any proactive measures to attempt to handle a serious issue that continues to gain more media and medical notice daily.

    Bad job by the commish and his fiefdom!!!!

  11. dericivy says: Nov 2, 2011 5:31 PM

    Some ref’s are actually doctors, believe it or not.

  12. gf2711 says: Nov 2, 2011 5:32 PM

    What is this, Blue’s Clues? yeah, ok, look for the paw print to find the concussion.

  13. slammincamnewton says: Nov 2, 2011 5:32 PM

    Ask the officials to do their jobs.

  14. leftcoastnative says: Nov 2, 2011 5:37 PM

    Does this decision also mean that officials now are shouldering liability for not diagnosing a concussion or incorrectly diagnosing a concussion? To what level of exposure, financially and legally in a court of law, are officials now exposed for action or inaction? Will officials be indemnified by the league if legal action is taken by players who suffer early onset of dementia or suffer from concussion syndrome?

    Not good to be wearing stripes on Sunday any more, regardless of what expertise or training they may be receiving from neurologists.

  15. snarkzilla says: Nov 2, 2011 5:38 PM

    Change the damn helmet rule to require something that’s tested out better then the Riddell and require mouth guards.

    This is beyond absurd. Will coaches be able to challenge these on-field diagnoses by non-experts?

  16. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Nov 2, 2011 5:40 PM

    What are they suppose to do go under the hood ? “AFTER FURTHER REVIEW THE PLAY DOES NOT STAND DO TO THE PLAYER SEEING STARS AS HE CROSSED THE GOAL LINE ” !

  17. charlutes says: Nov 2, 2011 5:42 PM

    The officials will also be asked to perform a full medical diagnosis on the spot while juggling.

  18. The Phantom Stranger says: Nov 2, 2011 5:43 PM

    These guys can’t even determine if a guy caught a pass or not and now they’re supposed to be diagnosing concussions?

  19. trollhammer20 says: Nov 2, 2011 5:47 PM

    It’s like this league doesn’t make enough money to have a full-time offical in the booth for replays, or qualified medical personnel on the sidelines to monitor injuries.

    Quick, jack the price of Sunday Ticket up to $400 a year.

  20. staph1nfection says: Nov 2, 2011 5:47 PM

    While I realize the intentions are good, this is most likely going to be disastrous.

  21. laeaglefan says: Nov 2, 2011 6:01 PM

    I’ll always remember that picture of Y.A. Tittle, on his knees with his helmet off, exposing his bald dome, dirt all over his face and blood running down from cuts on his forehead, looking dazed and quite “out of it”. I’d be willing to bet that there wasn’t even a penalty called on the play that caused that picture to be taken. Can you imagine the penalties, fines and suspensions that would probably happen if that scene were to occur today?

  22. zbigern says: Nov 2, 2011 6:02 PM

    You can basically look at a persons eyes to see a concussed state…anybody on here ever been in a fistfight or play football? Its a great idea to have a watchdog on the field…baby steps will lead to damn near saving lives. let er be…

  23. dan39564 says: Nov 2, 2011 6:05 PM

    These guys can’t even get a simple forward incomplete pass right, and you want them to look for concussions?

  24. nahcouldntbethat says: Nov 2, 2011 6:07 PM

    So we want refs put in the position of telling a team they must take a particular player off the field for several plays at a minimum in situations in which that might decide the game?

    I just don’t see this as remotely workable. Particularly given that the players they’ll be sending off the field may be unable to deal with the issue calmly due to the concussed status.

    Players already lose their cool with officials all the time. Do we really want to add this to the potential triggers during a game?

  25. 52crabcakes says: Nov 2, 2011 6:11 PM

    Seriously, they can’t officiate and now you want them to be drs. Seriously.

    Goodell – I agree, you are the worst commissioner in the history of sports!

  26. bucfandango says: Nov 2, 2011 6:18 PM

    I agree with every single post above. Everybody nailed it.
    Thank you.

  27. pdxninerfan says: Nov 2, 2011 6:20 PM

    Vegas bookies just collectively said “Hmmm, good idea!” while the rest of the world shakes their head in disbelief.

  28. oxfordthecat says: Nov 2, 2011 6:30 PM

    This really isn’t that big of a deal, and all this “you want them to be doctor’s” nonsense is a red herring.

    If boxing referee’s can manage to make judgement calls about a fighter, a football referee can do the same about a guy that just got jacked up on a slant or something like that.

    Non-event, and probably a step in the right direction.

  29. dclogicatlast says: Nov 2, 2011 6:31 PM

    I’m a big fan of mandatory CT scans after every tackle. All those involved on any given play must immediately sit out the next few plays to take the scan. The actual scan only takes 5 minutes, so they’d be back the next series.

    How can we ethically allow these guys to continue to play without knowing 100% for certain that there are no traces of concussion??

  30. stairwayto7 says: Nov 2, 2011 6:33 PM

    These guys can’t see a holding call 10 feet in front of them and now look for a concussion???

  31. fmwarner says: Nov 2, 2011 6:35 PM

    So we’re going to trust guys who can’t determine whether a man caught a ball with medical diagnoses?

    I would say this was the worst idea Goodell’s ever had, but then there’s the possible London franchise, the rules for determining a catch, 18 games…

  32. terumiarai says: Nov 2, 2011 6:54 PM

    Controversial games will emerge from this if the officials on the field make the call. Essential players may be taken out of the game/series during critical times if judgement is incorrect. Responsibility to decide if the player needs to leave the playing field should be made by someone else besides the officials.

    Besides, there’s been a lot of bad calls lately already. Don’t mess up the game anymore. Do it right NFL.

  33. grogansheroes says: Nov 2, 2011 6:56 PM

    Great, another thing for the officials to screw up.

  34. snarkzilla says: Nov 2, 2011 7:17 PM

    Hey Ref, I hit #12 pretty hard and he looked wobbly.

  35. snarkzilla says: Nov 2, 2011 7:22 PM

    Good choice of pic anyway. Pete’s been acting woozy all season.

  36. snarkzilla says: Nov 2, 2011 7:31 PM

    “We’ll be back with the decision from the Brain Trauma Review Booth after these 11 commercials.”

  37. wwwmattcom says: Nov 2, 2011 7:34 PM

    Why do teams hire full time athletic trainers? They are trained in concussion management and can tell Goodell where to go with this.

  38. mancave001 says: Nov 2, 2011 7:39 PM

    Not a step in the right direction. A step in the completely wrong direction is more like it.

  39. vikingsinla says: Nov 2, 2011 7:46 PM

    2 things are going to eventually come of this, and they’re both bad:

    A) The refs are going to be overly cautious and yank a star player in a close game, and that team will lose.

    or

    B) The refs aren’t going to risk their reputation by doing the above, and a player is going to get serious hurt when he should have been removed.

    Either case, the refs lose and the league loses. They are already constantly scrutinized with instant replay, giving refs this responsibility is asinine.

  40. j0esixpack says: Nov 2, 2011 7:46 PM

    snarkzilla says: Good choice of pic anyway. Pete’s been acting woozy all season.

    Beat me to the comment – can’t believe no one made it before 7:22… Pete’s play calling always suggests symptoms of a concussion. If the officials can’t spot it in him, good luck seeing it in a player.

  41. 1liondriven says: Nov 2, 2011 7:54 PM

    The refs do not know what a touch down looks like when they see one …how are they going to know what a concussion looks like.

    Seriously though…this is just the NFL covering it’s ass in regards to future liability in a law suit.

    They want to give every appearance that they are taking every possible step they can to protect the players.

    Because they really, really care…really your honor.

  42. deebo92 says: Nov 2, 2011 8:06 PM

    Yeah….cause we all know refs have great judgement

  43. artisan3m says: Nov 2, 2011 8:39 PM

    NFL officials should notify the game’s crazy commissioner that they WILL NOT assume that responsibility. They already have a full plate, they are by and large not qualified to make medical judgements, and they need not be saddled with the liability that attaches. Tell Goodell to find another sucker ~ NFL officials should stand firm and in solidarity on this totally stupid consideration.

  44. bleedgreen says: Nov 2, 2011 8:58 PM

    Really easy way for the league to massage games so that the teams they want to win will win. Oh, whats that? Ravens beating the Steelers? Looks like Ray Rice and Haloti Nagta have concussions. They need to get pulled from the game.

  45. broncosaddict says: Nov 2, 2011 9:33 PM

    So they cant make a judgement call on whether or not a player is faking an injury to save a timeout, but they can make a call whether or not a player needs medical attention???
    Is it just me or does that not make any sense?

  46. leftcoastnative says: Nov 2, 2011 9:43 PM

    This decision reminds me of the TV commercial about the guy who is performing brain surgery and is interrupted about his qualifications, and when asked, he says not a doctor, but I stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

    How could the NFL butcher something as significant as this?

    Are they that cheap that they cannot afford to put an independent neurologist on the sidelines for the safety of the players?

    They (NFK corporate) are pulling in over $9.2 Billion per year. They can spring for a few independent neurologists to protect the players.

  47. xarnthal says: Nov 2, 2011 10:21 PM

    They can’t even get who pushed who right on pass interference and you want then to look for concussion signs?

    Not being able to see when a football is on the end zone in a WHITE line and not on the big green field should be considered a symptom of concussions.

  48. negativeman89 says: Nov 2, 2011 11:25 PM

    I think the officials do a great job, and I’d be happy to have any of them as my primary care physician.

  49. alwaters9 says: Nov 3, 2011 12:50 AM

    It appears that from all of the blown calls/phantom penalties, it is not the players who should be watched for concussion symptoms.

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