Last Sunday’s early games included a troubling moment in which Rams quarterback Case Keenum obviously had sustained a head injury but somehow wasn’t taken off the field. The NFL has now determined that nothing will be taken from the Rams.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Rams won’t be penalized for mishandling the concussion protocol.
There’s no explanation provided regarding why the Rams won’t be punished. A trainer went onto the field to check Keenum, but the trainer didn’t remove Keenum for an official concussion evaluation.
Ultimately, the NFL may have decided that, with the ATC spotter now having the absolute ability to stop the game, the bulk of the blame should rest with the person whose primary job is to look for potential head injuries and to ensure that those players are out of the game.
The fact that the league thereafter convened a conference call with all head athletic trainers suggests that the NFL will be expecting more from the teams going forward. The lack of punishment for the Rams implies that the previous procedures weren’t sufficiently clear to justify punishing the Rams in this case.
So, basically, the situation that unfolded on Sunday in Baltimore perhaps was less about the team not following the rules and more about the NFL still not having sufficiently clear rules in place.