Tony Dungy decries “broken system” after Cameron Brate returns to play following apparent head injury

Kansas City Chiefs v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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At a time of supposedly unprecedented sensitivity to ensuring that players who may have suffered head injuries are removed from play, common sense suggests that everyone connected to the process will be more careful than ever about flagging potentially concussed players and properly checking them out. Alas, common sense ain’t.

Late in the first half of last night’s game between the Chiefs and Buccaneers, Tampa Bay tight end Cameron Brate caught a pass and accidentally slammed his head into receiver Chris Godwin. As NBC’s Mike Tirico said during the broadcast, Brate was “shaken up and slow to get up.”

Brate ran off the field, failing to make it to the sideline before the next snap.

Presumably, Brate came to the sideline to be properly checked for a concussion. However, he did not enter the blue medical tent. A few plays later, Brate actually re-entered the game.

After halftime, Brate was placed in the concussion protocol and ruled out.

Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, who was on the sideline last night for NBC’s Football Night in America, said that it was “obvious” to him that Brate had suffered a head injury. Dungy questioned the failure of the spotter to alert the referee and/or the sideline that Brate needed to be fully evaluated. Dungy dubbed it a “broken system.”

We’ve asked the Buccaneers whether Brate was checked for a head injury during the handful of plays he missed. The team’s P.R. staff is currently looking into the matter.

Although it’s encouraging that Brate was properly checked at halftime, it underscores the importance of having someone intervene to ensure he’s checked before he can get back into the game. If he had suffered a second head injury immediately after suffering the first head injury (he went tumbling to the ground in the end zone on a play that drew a pass interference penalty), that could have resulted in a very bad outcome.

7 responses to “Tony Dungy decries “broken system” after Cameron Brate returns to play following apparent head injury

  1. Are these independent entities that are supposed to spot and evaluate this stuff getting paid under the table by teams or what? Do we seriously need an NFL central review type system where a spotter in NY can make the call? Because everyone watching at home can see this stuff happen plain as day…

  2. It’s not broken. It’s exactly what the league wants. The players are nothing but commodities to the NFL. As Tex Schramm once famously said to Gene Upshaw: “What you don’t understand is that we are the ranchers and you are the cattle. And we can always get more cattle!”

  3. As the first comment states, we at home could see the Brate situation play out plain as day, and the NFL can’t ?

  4. To put it mildly, NFL fans are traditionalists, yet they’ve somehow gotten ahead of the league on player safety. It’s an embarrassment that there aren’t 24 owners who either can’t read the room or just don’t care as much as the people who give them money to fix this IMMEDIATELY.

  5. There’s an element of danger to football. That’s why we play it … why we love it. It’s never going to be 100% safe. It’s easy to second guess.

  6. Sounds like most fans need to pick a new sport where everyone is a winner and no one gets hurt or loses. God forbid we don’t turn off Thursday night football so the league understands that player safety is real.

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