The NFL’s concussion protocols are once again under scrutiny after Panthers quarterback Cam Newton took multiple hard hits to the head on Thursday night but did not leave the game.
The NFL, however, says that the league’s protocols worked as they should, with multiple members of the medical staff observing Newton, seeing no indication that he had suffered a concussion, and therefore allowing him to keep playing.
“There was communication between medical personnel on the Carolina sideline, including the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant, and the two independent certified athletic trainer spotters in the booth,” the league said in a statement. “During stoppage in play while on-field officials were in the process of administrating penalties, the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant and team physician requested video from the spotters and reviewed the play. They concluded there were no indications of a concussion that would require further evaluation and the removal of the player from the game.”
The NFL Players Association has criticized the league for failing to do enough to protect players from brain injuries, and when the NFL’s reigning MVP gets hits in the head during the marquee Week One opener, it’s bound to draw more criticism. The NFL, however, is insisting that its medical staff handled Newton properly.
The NFLPA, which has the right to conduct its own investigation, tells PFT it is still reviewing the matter.