Though the NFL continues to take small steps in lieu of giant leaps, the process of diagnosing in-game concussions gradually is improving.
The latest step, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, will entail the use of independent athletic trainers, who’ll monitor players for possible concussions and oversee the testing process.
The best news? The independent trainers will be stationed upstairs, monitoring the action with direct access to the sidelines. (We’ve been arguing for the NFL to utilize a procedure like this for weeks, dating back at least to Mike Vick’s dirt-on-the-face misadventures.)
But there’s still more progress to be made. When the independent trainers in the booth identify a player who needs to be checked for a concussion, the checking needs to be done by an independent neurologist, with the power to take the player in the locker room and assess him without any head coaches poking their noses over the shoulders of team-hired doctors whose practices benefit tremendously from being able to tell potential patients that the doctors work for NFL teams.
So why not use independent neurologists on the sidelines? Hopefully, that’s the next small step that the league will take.