Initial concussion protocol can still be administered on the sideline


In response to the incidents that arose last week, with Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis remaining on the sideline after he’d been diagnosed with a concussion and Packers tackle David Bakhtiari actually finding a way back into the game before doctors had conducted a concussion evaluation, the league has not shifted the entire concussion protocol to the locker room.  Yet.

During ESPN’s Saturday edition of Sunday NFL Countdown, Chris Mortensen said that the league would now require in the aftermath of the Lewis and Bakhtiari situations that the concussion protocol be administered in the locker room.

Per a league source, that’s not the case.

If a player is determined via initial sideline protocol to be possibly concussed, he must be taken to the locker room as soon as possible to the locker room for a full evaluation. The initial protocol, however, can still be administered on the sideline.

The initial protocol consists of the six “go-no go” questions established by the league’s Madden rule. Sometimes (like on Saturday after the first big hit absorbed by Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin), a closer look is taken in the locker room before the player is cleared. More often, clearance comes on the sideline.

While it would be ideal for all concussion evaluations to occur in the locker room, away from the noise, the elements, and the general chaos of the sideline, conservative application of the “go-no go” questions would result in plenty of healthy players being kept out of action unnecessarily.

The balance nevertheless continues to be a delicate one, especially in playoff games. Key players need to be available to play, but the teams need to remain vigilant about ensuring that brains are properly protected.

4 responses to “Initial concussion protocol can still be administered on the sideline

  1. Johnson, I agree with you, have you noticed that the NFL has put out all of these rules on the subject of concussions, but at the same time I do not ever remember the NFL or any of the 32 teams ever enforcing any of these rules. Does anyone else remember these so called rules ever being enforced ? I have come to one conclusion, that the NFL along with the teams, it is just a business and it is not a sport any longer. That being said, it is no wonder that concussions are being down played. IMHO, just as long as any player can tell the difference between the colors of his own team and the other team, his team will okay him and send him back in to play, if the teams thinks that the said player might help the team win the game. Their were players that were diagnosed with concussions this last week just before this week end of play offs, yet they were still practicing with the teams and all planned on playing this week end. Does that say any thing about the so called rules being enforced ? It was my understanding that “NO PLAYER” would practice or play in any games with a concussion problem, guess I was wrong, would you agree??

  2. If you make it a rule to remove players from the field after big hits, that pulls them out for SEVERAL plays, which in turn gives defenses major incentive to lay out devastating concussion threatening hits since it would guarantee taking out key players for 1/2 a quarter or more.

    And once you start creating systems that basically give strategic incentive to aiming for players’ heads, then your inadvertently making the game even MORE dangerous.

  3. There are sideline tests they could do in a minute or two that could help catch potential concussions, just google Sideline Concussion Test.

    But if they started using objective sideline screening like that then where is the wriggle room to put a player back in quickly.

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