NFL conducting “thorough review” of Russell Wilson concussion evaluation


Before Thursday night, the primary flaws with the concussion protocol related to the spotting of potential concussions and the flagging of a player for evaluation. On Thursday night, a new flaw emerged: The failure of a team to properly look at a player who had been sent to the sideline for evaluation.

In the third quarter, with the Seahawks leading 15-10, referee Walt Anderson sent Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to the sideline for an evaluation after he took a helmet from Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby to the jaw. Initially, Wilson went to the medical tent for a concussion evaluation. As the tent was being dropped over him, Wilson got up and left, insisting “I’m fine” and returning to the field.

No one stopped him. Based on the NFL’s policy, someone should have.

“A thorough review is underway,” the NFL said in a statement issued on Friday morning. “According to the policy jointed developed by the NFL and NFLPA, if the Concussion Protocol is not properly followed the club is subject to discipline.”

If the policy is applied as written, a violation will be found, because nothing was done to properly evaluate Wilson during the one play that he missed.

The NFL’s “concussion checklist” requires, for starters, the team physician to review the video of the play. (It’s unclear whether that happened.) Then, the team physician must “at a minimum” ask the player what happened, review the go/no-go signs and symptoms, and ask the so-called Maddock’s questions. Then, if there’s any doubt that the player may have been concussed, a full NFL sideline concussion assessment will occur in the locker room.

(The Maddock’s questions include: 1. At what venue are we today?; 2. Which half is it now?; 3. Who scored last in this match?; 4. What did you play last week?; and 5. Did your team win the last game?)

Here, the evaluation consisted, by all appearances, of Wilson saying, “I’m fine” and returning to the field, with the trip to the medical tent delayed until after the drive had ended. The fact that Wilson delayed the evaluation confirms that the evaluation should have happened not then but when Wilson first went to the sideline.

If a violation is found, the Seahawks will face a maximum fine of $150,000. Also, club employees or medical team members involved in the process will be required to attend remedial education.

Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that Wilson should have been evaluated not after the drive ended but immediately after being sent to the sideline. Fine or not, the rules require much more than what the Seahawks did last night.

77 responses to “NFL conducting “thorough review” of Russell Wilson concussion evaluation

  1. “What did you play last week?” That’s a question? Football? I mean, what’s the answer supposed to be there?

  2. Peter the cheat taught his players well on how to be cheaters. Not surprised. One year dynasty. Now back to being irrelevant.

  3. Redesign helmets to the safest standards available (there are actually better helmets on the market right now using superior materials), but you can never made a dangerous game that involves tackling safe.

  4. A dislocated jaw is not a concussion. You send him off the field….what did they expect. If he’s able to string a sentence together, he’s running back on. That’s Russell Wilson. How about who ever delivers the head shot has to leave the field plus 1 more of the head coaches choosing if you want to have QBs take 20 minutes on the sidelines.

  5. Regardless of whether he had a concussion, that was pretty much a total breakdown of everything the NFL said it was going to do in those situations. At a minimum, shouldn’t the official that sent him off know that there was no possible way he could have completed an assessment before he was back on the field? Wilson grabbed his helmet, went back into the game and nobody said boo or attempted to stop him.

  6. There was no sign of Wilson having a concussion. He did not appear disoriented or lost. It appeared he was worried about his chin being damaged. Just making sure it was not broken or fractured.

  7. Sherman, Wilson, Pete Carroll then connect the dots last night. He has been fined for numerous violations and his cheating puts Belichick to shame. Things like having players bang heads without helmets and sanctioned violations at USC. The guy is a glorified snake oil salesman.

  8. ilovefootball25 says:
    November 10, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    The whole concussion protocol is a joke. Elite players get special treatment. If it happened to a 3rd string QB, he would have been pulled from the game.
    What is the 3rd-string QB doing in that game?
    Must have been a blood-bath.

  9. Russel Wilson was clearly in charge of his concussion protocols last night, not the team or independent doctors. No surprise there since it is a team coached by an all-time cheater in Pete Carroll.

  10. Hope Wilson is OK.

    I’ll say this forever: Get rid of 8 NFL teams and add 8 teams and make those 16 teams the ‘minor leagues’. People will watch and the league will have better QB’s.

    The NFL NEEDS QB’S. McCarron/Cousins/Rodgers all would not have sat out 3 years. Not to mention there HAS to be some guys out there who just never got the chance. These over drafted, crapshoot QB’s would not get drafted as high because others would be developed.

    People aren’t watching as much anymore? I know the litany of reasons but a BIG reason is there are only (give or take) 20 legit QB’s and some of them are getting old and are barely legit or questioning retirement (Eli & Ben).

    We would never have heard of Kurt Warner had he come out of college in the past decade. Warren Moon took it upon himself to get noticed.

    There are 8 teams that are terrible year in and out anyway. The whole rebuild process is USELESS if you draft a bust at QB. Not rocket science.

  11. “…physician must “at a minimum” ask the player what happened, review the go/no-go signs and symptoms, and ask the so-called Maddock’s questions. Then, if there’s any doubt that the player may have been concussed…”

    This. It’s subjective, and that’s a problem. Not that I know of any better way to evaluate concussions, but what may seem out of sorts to one physician may seem borderline or even normal to another.

  12. …Have EVERY player should sign a WAIVER validating they KNOW and ACCEPT the RISKS of playing tacking football. It’s a violent sport PERIOD. I don’t see race car drivers sueing after a crash or realtives sueing if the driver dies in a crash. They know the risks and if they accept those risks, just let them play!

  13. Russell wears one of the new concussion helmets. It’s very obvious that he wasn’t concussed by the way he won the game and his post game interview. Haters gonna hate.

  14. Poor Walt Anderson. They ignored him when he indicated what gauge he used to measure the psi in NE/IND’s footballs. Now, they ignore him about Wilson going through concussion protocol.

  15. Are you seriously playing dumb on this? If you watched the game, it was clear that they were talking to him and evaluating him on the sidelines. He already cleared everything and the only reason he went to the tent was because it was a formality.

  16. Why is a referee empowered to send players off the field for concussion protocol? He gets hit in the jaw and that means he has to go sit in a blue tent and answer dumb questions because a referee said so? These guys can’t even correctly interpret pass interference calls, and we’re gonna ask them to interpret the effects of potential brain trauma? Really. Especially over a hit like that. On those standards, RB’s should be sent off the field every time they get hit in the hole at the line of scrimmage. Can you imagine how long a boxing match would take? “Oh you got punched, stop the fight, go sit in a tent and play 20 questions”

    I understand the need for improved safety measures, but this is absurd.

  17. All of you defenders of Wilson need to understand – refs don’t just send guys off the field for the hell of it – if in ANY doubt they ask the guy a question and if the guy doesn’t respond clearly he gets sent to the sideline.

    But regardless, once sent to the sideline he has to follow procedure – and if he wasn’t concussed it’s worse because he can’t say he was too addled to follow rules. But the team are to blame, not him. But don’t worry, much like Hawks’ oft-faked injury reports and phantom clock stoppages etc, the NFL won’t lift a finger because Parity Rules help the constantly cheating crappy teams.

  18. What about some responsibility on Wilson’s part? I can’t imagine that teams or the league don’t brief all players on concussion protocol, and that they can’t just decide for themselves they’re fine.

  19. Isn’t a league official or someone supposed to hold the helmet of the player in the tent, so to prevent something like this happening? That must not have occurred.

  20. Didn’t the Seahawks fail to report injuries last year and the league did what it does best.


  21. Suspend him 1-2 games. They made a mockery of the NFL’s player safety rules and process. It was an absolute joke. He was in the tent a fraction of a second, and immediately returned to the field.

  22. Time for Ted wells to conclude that it was more “probable than not” that the Seahawks deliberately circumvented the league’s rules of play and that Wilson was at least “generally aware” of these inappropriate activities.

    Or maybe Wilson was unaware…. because he had a concussion.

  23. Send a clear message and give their first round pick to the 49ers. This creates maximum pain for Seattle and is a way to show the league that concussions are serious. It will also help create some parity.

  24. Is it any wonder people are growing tired of the NFL. Just play the game. If your worried about injuries then don’t play, don’t watch, but let the rest of us enjoy football.

  25. If the questions are widely known ahead of time can’t the players prepare for them?

    You have obviously never been knocked out. When you wake up from being knocked out you don’t even know who you are or where you are or anything about anything… it all comes back little bit by little bit and you realize where you are and what your life is all about.

    It’s the damnedest experience actually. I can’t imagine what it would be like to wake up on the field as an NFL player in front of 70,000 fans.

  26. Seahawks just get away with things

    You obviously didn’t watch the game last night. Color Rush Thursday isn’t supposed to mean yellow flags all over your screen.

    If the Hawks were shutting the Cardinals down on third down you know there was going to be a flag to extend the drive… Yep there it is.

    All night.

  27. “How about the official that sent him off for a possible concussion is the same official that didn’t throw a flag on THAT play for shot to the head. Makes sense.”
    How about a couple weeks ago when a player was penalized because the play “sounded like helmet to helmet”. Ref Didn’t see it – he heard it. And now a hit visible enough to send a player off results in no flag, no foul, and no evaluation? The penalty should be stiffer than $150,000 and maybe not all to the team. There were a few other hands in this pie that failed as well.

  28. They need to investigate Dansby for trying to take out the QB. Wonder what kind of bounty they had on Wilson. Arians is that kind of coach. That was clear and obvious targeting of Wilson’s head/neck area. Yes the concussion process is inconsistent. But why do the networks have to show the players going in? They are trying to catch glimpses since the tents are meant to hide players from the cameras.

  29. goodmengoodwill says:
    November 10, 2017 at 12:13 pm
    If the questions are widely known ahead of time can’t the players prepare for them?

    You’ve obviously never had a grade 2 or 3 concussion. With those you probably don’t know your own name. Believe me.

  30. For Pete’s sake, I knew this would be blown out of proportion…and I’m not a Hawks fan. Wilson took a helmet on chin. He wasn’t concussed, but his chin sure hurt. He showed absolutely no signs of being concussed. A guy doesn’t do a fast jog when he is concussed, as Wilson did.
    I know players try to hide symptoms, but it was obvious Wilson wasn’t concussed. Medical staff would have stopped him, if they had any reason to.

  31. That flag was a crock – even the replay showed that it was not an penalty – this is football. I think that the ref sent him to sidelines to justify his poor flag – he is the one that threw it not one of his subordinates. Of course Pete the Cheat would let him back in. In any case that is another case of a flag happy crew showing why the fans are there – to see the guys in stripes – not the guys in the horrible coloured unis ( Seahawks).

  32. Sounds like a lot of people are mad that the Cardinals weren’t able to benefit from Dansby’s dirty hit on Wilson by forcing Wilson to sit in the tent for 20 minutes so the Cards could tee off on Davis.

  33. Accused of probably knowing it’s possible someone might have let air out of footballs 4 games, $1m fine, lost picks, all with an admission of no evidence.

    Blowing off concussion protocol in front of the entire viewing audience? Now we get to see more of the duplicitous nature of the NFL front office.

  34. Although clearly at least half of the penalties belonged to Seattle, but the refs did their best to give game to Cardinals. Has anyone notice that NFL is some instances have stopped slow motion reviews of called plays. Trying to make it look like refs aren’t deciding who wins.

  35. goodmengoodwill says:
    November 10, 2017 at 12:13 pm
    If the questions are widely known ahead of time can’t the players prepare for them?
    The questions pertain to recent events so they can’t really prepare for them; like, what’s the score? who scored last? was it a touchdown or fieldgoal? what quarter are we in? If a player has to think about any of those type of questions, chances are he’s been concussed

  36. Wilson and the rest of the NFL players should take heed of CTE. Aaron Hernandez would agree.
    The brain of Aaron Hernandez is why no one should play football. Ever.
    “Doctors at Boston University today released images of brain damage suffered by Aaron Hernandez, the deceased New England Patriots tight end jailed for killing his friend Odin Lloyd in 2013, and said it was the most severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy ever discovered in a person his age. Hernandez was 27 years old when he committed suicide in prison by hanging himself with a bed sheet in April.” Quartz By Janet Guyon

  37. They need to call an official time out and have the player checked quickly. If he’s ok, he can return without missing a play. Can you imagine a QB being forced out of an important game, missing a few plays, then they find out he was ok to play? In the meantime his backup threw an interception. The referees don’t need that much control over the outcome. They have enough already.

  38. margoadams says:
    November 10, 2017 at 1:17 pm
    Seattle should lose draft picks for playing fast and loose with the rules.

    Pats fans should be experts at losing draft picks for playing fast and loose with the rules.

  39. charliecharger says:
    November 10, 2017 at 8:26 pm
    They need to call an official time out and have the player checked quickly. If he’s ok, he can return without missing a play. Can you imagine a QB being forced out of an important game, missing a few plays, then they find out he was ok to play? In the meantime his backup threw an interception. The referees don’t need that much control over the outcome. They have enough already.

    Wouldn’t calling a timeout in certain situations be considered a benefit to one team? Sooner or later a QB as crafty as say, Russell Wilson, just as an example, will feign symptoms to stop the clock if they’re out of time outs.

    Every single time a ref calls a penalty, marks a player down or where he goes out of bounds he affects the outcome of a game. Why get hung up on when it happens?

  40. This is a bad look for one of the faces of the league in a year where the stars are dropping like flies. Russell had an opportunity here to represent the new way of things when it comes to head trauma and do a service to football at all levels and ages. It’s disappointing he not only refuses to be proactive in this regard, but deliberately undermines the process put in place. You can bet when the NFLPA brings up head trauma in regards to compensation, healthcare, and practice time during the next CBA negotiations, the owners will play this clip of Wilson and show the quotes of multiple other NFL players dismissing concerns about concussions.

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