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Fujita will ask NFLPA to push for independent neurologist at games

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In defending themselves against the manner in which quarterback Colt McCoy’s concussion-like concussion was handled, the Browns have pointed to, among other things, complimentary remarks from Browns linebacker Scott Fujita regarding the manner in which the team handled his own concussion.  And that gives additional credibility to anything Fujita says regarding the topic of concussions.

On Sunday, Fujita — a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee — told Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Football Night In America that Fujita will press the NFLPA to request the presence of an independent neurologist at games.

Currently, the league requires any player diagnosed with a concussion during a game to be subsequently cleared by an independent neurologist before returning to practice or to a future game.  But the league does not require an independent neurologist to attend NFL games.  In fact, the NFL doesn’t even require a team-hired neurologist to be present at games.

“The one thing I know is that when it comes to this issue, players, coaches, and
team medical personnel struggle in the heat of the moment,” Fujita said earlier in the day, in an email sent both to King and to PFT.  “This has been an
ongoing problem for years.  The game-day sideline is intense, there’s a lot
going on, and we can’t always count on everyone to make the most responsible
decisions.”

Fujita pointed to the mindset of football players.  They want to play when injured, just as Fujita wanted to play — and did play — last month after breaking his hand.  “The question becomes not about what’s best for your health, but about what your pain tolerance is and what you’re willing to play through,” Fujita said.

“So when it comes to head injuries, I think the only real solution I’ve heard
that might help remedy this problem is to have an independent neurological
consultant on the sideline,” Fujita added.  “I think we may have missed an opportunity to properly address this as we were finalizing the CBA.  Hopefully it’s not too late to get it right.”

Hopefully, Scott’s words will be heeded by the NFLPA, and then by the league.

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16 Responses to “Fujita will ask NFLPA to push for independent neurologist at games”
  1. jagerbmb says: Dec 11, 2011 8:02 PM

    Let’s just put all the players in those inflatable Sumo Wrestling outfits. Surely that would be safer and probably more entertaining the NFFL (National Flag Football League).

  2. zaggs says: Dec 11, 2011 8:09 PM

    But if you have an independent neurologist, do you run the trouble of them not knowing what the baseline is?

  3. natigator says: Dec 11, 2011 8:13 PM

    Concussions are serious injuries with potential life altering symptoms, nothing to joke about.

    Its not the end of the world if a player who gets a concussion is forcibly removed from the game. If that requires independent neurologists to unilaterally make that call, then I’m good with it. Just my .02

  4. Soulman45 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:34 PM

    If someone think a concussion could have happen take their helmet and tell then to go to the locker room and shower until they can see a doctor.
    Their are other players ti step in.

  5. cgarsmoker says: Dec 11, 2011 8:34 PM

    Maybe they can get that HGH testing thing right as well.

  6. manhorse69 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:52 PM

    The people who pine for the good old days when men were men and football players could hit eachother need to realize a few things.

    1. The style of play, even in the 80′s and 90′s, was much different. The players were smaller in general and not as strong or fast. Some were, but every player in the league now is usually a terrifying combination of size and speed.

    2. The reason concussions and player safety are such a priority now is precisely because the guys from the last 40 years of the NFL are realizing and speaking up about the long term effects of all the injuries they sustained in their careers.

    It’s surprising the number of people who who make comments lie the first one. I’m sure of many of these folks were injured on the job, they’d be the first ones in line to file workman’s comp. Yet they have and issue with men who play a game wanting to have rules in place to allow them to play it safer and in such a way that they’ll be able to actually enjoy the life they’re able to provide for themselves. If physical violence is your thing, there’s MMA, boxing etc. for you to watch.

  7. butzmark says: Dec 11, 2011 8:58 PM

    An independent doctor will have to worry about protecting himself as much as the players. If he doesn’t take someone out that then suffers what is then determined to be further injury is he then liable? As head injuries commonly have delayed symptoms we’ll start seeing players taken out when there is the slightest suspicion of a concussion. How about some more action with a tech solution..a better helmet.

  8. mommydrank says: Dec 11, 2011 9:20 PM

    @manhorse69 – is that you Roger Goodell? Must be, because Goodell is the only person I know who doesn’t like physical violence in a football game. Thanks for the lecture.

  9. erstwhiledoc says: Dec 11, 2011 9:20 PM

    butzmark, great point.

    This independent neurologist solution may not be as straightforward as it seems. Almost by definition, these specialists will be either community or medical center physicians who live in a malpractice liability world. While it’s OK to err on the side of caution, there is such a thing as too much caution. The next step would have to be an expansion of NFL game day rosters, so there are enough subs for players removed from the game by the independent specialists.

  10. brownsince64 says: Dec 11, 2011 9:42 PM

    nice idea, but as others have pointed out, implementation has problems. Imagine not clearing tom brady to return when he is going down for a final score in a playoff game. I bet most QBs/players will refuse to come out of a game to begin with.

  11. anacherforester says: Dec 11, 2011 10:41 PM

    An independent neurologist won’t need to know an individual player’s “baseline.” Evaluations would consist of looking for physical symptoms i.e. “glassy eyes”, etc., & asking a series of simple questions any non-concussed player can answer i.e. “What’s your birthday?”

    Don’t know how much helmets can improve. Hits on the head aren’t the direct cause of the damage. Your brain hitting the inside of your skull is.

  12. steelerchicken says: Dec 11, 2011 11:26 PM

    Tag football anyone? I might want to start a professional Rugby league soon. Since the NFL is going the way of the dinosaurs.

  13. manhorse69 says: Dec 12, 2011 12:39 AM

    Theres plenty of room for physical football to be played within the rules. What would be stupid is for the game not to evolve in response to new information, in this case about concussions. Not trying to minimize concussions with the information the league and nflpa have in hand would leave the league wide open to future lawsuits by current players.

  14. trbowman says: Dec 12, 2011 2:29 AM

    “Let’s just put all the players in those inflatable Sumo Wrestling outfits. Surely that would be safer and probably more entertaining the NFFL (National Flag Football League).”

    “is that you Roger Goodell? Must be, because Goodell is the only person I know who doesn’t like physical violence in a football game. Thanks for the lecture.”

    “Tag football anyone? I might want to start a professional Rugby league soon. Since the NFL is going the way of the dinosaurs.’

    Dumb and dumber

  15. eaglesw00t says: Dec 12, 2011 7:49 AM

    anacherforester says:
    Dec 11, 2011 10:41 PM
    An independent neurologist won’t need to know an individual player’s “baseline.” Evaluations would consist of looking for physical symptoms i.e. “glassy eyes”, etc., & asking a series of simple questions any non-concussed player can answer i.e. “What’s your birthday?”

    Don’t know how much helmets can improve. Hits on the head aren’t the direct cause of the damage. Your brain hitting the inside of your skull is.

    ———————————————

    But the problem is, NFL teams already one up that lame test.

    Team physicians already have a baseline on each player. They already look for those basic symptoms. They already employ a team physician who has been trained in detecting concussion symptoms.

    Im not saying that hiring an independent physician is a bad thing…but your reasoning as a rebuttal leaves a lot to be desired.

  16. anacherforester says: Dec 12, 2011 9:31 PM

    The reason why you need an independent neurologist, silly, is because teams not only don’t have neurologists on the sideline but also, as we’ve seen with the Browns, their team physicians don’t always conduct the tests mandated by the NFL.

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