The NFL and NFL Players’ Association jointly stated today that no one will be disciplined despite a clear breakdown that led to Texans quarterback Tom Savage returning to the field after suffering a concussion that left him visibly struggling.
In the joint statement, the league and the union referred to the incident as “unacceptable” and said it is proof that the concussion protocol needs improvement. But no one will be punished for violating the league’s concussion rules.
Instead, a series of changes to the concussion protocol have been implemented. Those include:
— A neurotrauma consultant based at the league office will be monitoring games on television and able to contact the on-site medical staff immediately to instruct them to take players off the field if they have exhibited signs of concussion.
— Players who exhibit signs of either “defined impact seizure” or “fencing responses” will be removed from games and not permitted to return.
— Any player who stumbles or falls to the ground while trying to stand after a hit to the head must be taken to the locker room for a thorough evaluation and not just evaluated on the sideline.
— Officials, players and coaches have been told to take any injured player directly to a member of the medical staff if they suspect the player needs a concussion assessment.
— Every player who undergoes a concussion evaluation during a game must also have a follow-up evaluation the next day, even if he passes the in-game evaluation.
— All postseason games will have three neurotrauma consultants on site, rather than the standard of two for regular-season games.
The incident with Savage was an ugly one that the NFL needs to ensure doesn’t happen again.