This one should be obvious by now, but it’s still worth mentioning: The concussion issue has changed the way NFL teams assess draft prospects.
Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome recently mentioned that his team is paying closer attention to a player’s concussion history. The league’s new sensitivity to concussions means that every team should do the same thing.
“That information is out there,” Newsome said, via the Baltimore Sun. “As far as what we do, and most teams do, is once we get guys here, we’ll get a baseline test done with those players, so that if a concussion occurs, then we have something that we can refer back to. But, it is something now that throughout the league — and in all professional sports and on the collegiate level — that everybody is spending more time looking at.”
Teams have no choice but to consider this information, because a history of concussions suggests a future of more concussions, and the unavailability of the player that has future concussions.
It’s one of the most unfortunate aspects of the league’s new approach, since grown men who are willing to assume the risk of injury while lucid but possibly suffering one or more concussion symptoms are prevented from playing, and in turn viewed as unreliable going forward. The league has nevertheless decided to protect these players from themselves, which could mean that players who are fully informed of the situation and choose playing pro football over avoiding long-term health consequences will be forced out of the game prematurely.
Now, players who have a history of concussions in college may not even get a chance to embark on an NFL career at all, or they could see their chances of making a roster limited by a lower draft position.