The NFL and NFL Players Association finally have identified a violation of the in-game concussion protocol. The penalty is . . . a somewhat strongly worded letter.
The league and the union announced that the protocol “was not strictly followed” after Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore took a hit to the chin and mouth during a wild-card game against the Steelers. The team doctor and the unaffiliated neuro-trauma consultant did not recognize that Moore had a documented symptom (bleeding from the mouth) that required further evaluation in the locker room.
“There is no indication that competitive issues had an impact on the care that Mr. Moore received, nor did Mr. Moore demonstrate any concussion symptoms either during or at any time following the game,” the statement explained.
The Dolphins have been asked to engage their staff in a full review of the protocol, and to conduct additional education, if necessary. The Dolphins also were warned that “any future deviation” from the concussion protocol could result in “enhanced discipline, including monetary fines assessed against the Club.”
The announcement doesn’t specify the sanction, if any, applicable to the unaffiliated neuro-trauma consultant, who along with the Miami team doctor failed to notice that Moore was bleeding from the mouth and, thus, required an evaluation in the locker room.
Regardless, it seems like a fairly light punishment for a bright-line violation of a policy that the league views as having critical importance to player health and safety.