The NFL says the Panthers acted properly when they gave quarterback Cam Newton a brief sideline concussion evaluation before putting him back on the field late in a playoff loss to the Saints.
Despite heavy criticism for the Panthers’ decision to check Newton on the sideline, rather than in the locker room, the league says they handled the situation appropriately.
“Mr. Newton was properly evaluated for a concussion in the sideline medical tent and did not sustain a concussion,” the league said in a statement.
The NFL says Newton suffered an eye injury and had no balance problems or other concussion symptoms. The league says Newton went to a knee as he walked toward the sideline because the Panthers’ coaches told him to, and because he wanted the trainer (who is shorter than the 6-foot-5 Newton) to be able to see into his eye — not because he was losing balance after a hit to the head.
“Mr. Newton did not display ‘gross motor instability,’ which would have necessitated a locker room evaluation in the Concussion Protocol,” the league said in its statement.
So why was Newton given a concussion evaluation, if the problem was his eye? The league says that’s because “The medical team acted with an abundance of caution.”
And that’s that: The NFL says everything was done by the book in the Cam Newton concussion evaluation.