NFL: Spotters concluded Cameron Brate was hit in the shoulder, not the head

Kansas City Chiefs v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The NFL’s “Concussion Game Day Checklist” consists of a flow chart that commences with a first step: “Player receives impact to the head.”

In the case of Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate, the NFL contends that step one didn’t happen.

“Immediately following the game, the NFL contacted team and unaffiliated medical personnel to gather information concerning the injury sustained by Tampa Bay’s Cameron Brate,” the NFL said in a statement provided to PFT. “The league reviewed the information with the NFL Players Association. Based on the standardized gameday reports, it is clear to both parties that the spotters in the booth concluded that Brate was hit in the shoulder and therefore did not trigger the concussion protocols. As soon as medical personnel identified concussion symptoms, they removed Brate from the game.”

The NFL Players Association has informed PFT that it reviewed the situation as well, and that it backs that assessment.

Beyond the fact that Brate did indeed sustain a concussion (as proven by the fact that he was removed from play, but only after returning for several snaps before halftime), the video doesn’t indicate a blow to the shoulder. At the end of the play that started with 1:35 remaining in the first half, Brate’s head CLEARLY collides with the torso of Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin.

The impact, combined with Brate’s reaction to it, absolutely should have prompted the two spotters (one is a Certified Athletic Trainer and the other is an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant) to activate the protocol. We reject flatly and unequivocally the contention by the NFL and the NFLPA that Brate did not receive an impact to the head.

We realize that things are a little dicey right now, given the Tua Tagovailoa situation. There’s a natural inclination to circle the wagons. To look the other way so as not to make the heat too hot in the kitchen. Perhaps even to trot out some good, old-fashioned alternative facts. That’s absolutely the wrong approach.

While the system may not be “broken” (as Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy described it), the system failed in this situation. Brate received impact to the head. Everyone saw it. Everyone, apparently, except the two people who are paid to see it.

And if the league and the union can’t see that, maybe there should be a governmental agency that manages (and, as needed, micromanages) the game of professional football.

39 responses to “NFL: Spotters concluded Cameron Brate was hit in the shoulder, not the head

  1. Imagine these spotters yanking 15 guys a game out because they thought they might have seen head contact. You need to be sure before you turn the game upside down.

  2. It’s fashionable to brazenly lie and know that people are going to have to get over it.
    Sickening really.

  3. Oh yeah that’s what we need, government interference. Yes you’re right, the world def needs more government, red tape, lawyers, insurance to over legislate (because that WILL happen) which will lead to the eventual downfall. And I would think the government has better things to do – like borrowing more money at a record setting pace…

  4. Nope, I do not want to see a government agency involved with this, complete waste of time and money. The company/industry and the union in place to protect the employees should get it done themselves.

  5. There will be mistakes. The game is dangerous. With that said, I commented here before Thursday the Tua would be cleared. QBs have always been treated differently from Wilson pushing away the blue tent to just about everyone that has a concussion gets cleared the next week of any game of consequence. They got burned with it but I doubt it stops. We will see an example soon enough.

  6. If the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant is not affiliated with the NFL, NFLPA, or any particular team, how can they fire him or her? If they hired them, then they are affiliated with them. No?

  7. I’m seeing a lot of receivers flopping to try to get a call in their favor. If you want to get government involved in sports safety, we should start with boxing and MMA fighting. The goal is to knock the other guy out. They’re beating and pounding each other in the head. If the government allows that to take place on American soil, I’m afraid the NFL would be considered a powderpuff sport. The NFL is safer now that at any time in history. And why discriminate against the average American’s safety? People are getting shot and killed every day. Nobody is dying on an NFL field. One guy, Chuck Hughes died about 50 years ago, and there was no contact on the play. It was a freak incident. NFL players are probably much safer on the gridiron than your average American walking down the street.

  8. Heh? At least hire people who played Operation as kids. People who can at least tell the difference between a head and a shoulder. SMH.

  9. Dale Earnhardt didn’t hit his head either. Is Kyrie Irving the head medical expert here or what?

  10. I understand concussions and head injuries are concerning, but can the media, social media, etc, please take a freaking breath with the hot takes and calls for regulation. I’m sick of it across the board and it’s making me want to tune out. I honestly feel like some of you won’t be satisfied until it’s flag football.

  11. 4theWin says:
    October 4, 2022 at 7:10 pm
    It’s fashionable to brazenly lie and know that people are going to have to get over it.
    Sickening really.


    Told ya. Cover up #1 complete. Miami is next.

    It’s because Brady plays for TB. If Brady was still on NE, this would be multiple draft picks taken and a completely different statement from the NFL.

    It’s why Antonion Brown was allowed to play on TB in 2020 after being forced off of NE in 2019 due to a raging jealousy of the owners who saw Antonio Brown and Brady lead the Pats offense to a bludgeoning of MIami, 43-0. Brown actually assaulted a moving driver in the winter of 2020, yet he was still able to sign with Tampa. Classic Goodell.

    It’s all mannufactured cheating by Goodell. It dodsn’t matter if he gets hit in the head or chest or shoulder. It’s the after-ffect it causes that matters to see if there is a concussion that everyone else is seeing.

  12. It’s all mannufactured cheating by Goodell.
    Seriously kid, you need to ditch this conspiracy theory of yours. It’s way overdone. Step into reality.

  13. There’s 22 players on the field. The spotter is also watching EVERYONE else too, not just your ballcarrier. They got about 20 seconds to check everyone.

  14. I wonder where these spotters are located and if that is what is hampering them from being able to follow 22 individual players.

    À lot of these misses are clear and evident to most fans and commentators watching the game on the big screen

  15. Not CLEARLY collides because the angle of the camera gives you no sense of depth. He clearly took a hit high up, but you can’t tell (from that angle alone) if the head was hit or just his shoulder pads.
    I wouldn’t trust announcers or whoever the rules official analyst is they have on the game. Textbook head to head hit by Miami last Thursday night and the “analyst” said clearly not head to head but he hit him with shoulder pads. Funny thing was that he was saying that exact thing as the replay being shown that it was as clear head to head as you get. So better to keep mouth shut and remove all doubt. And that person was a former official, so even they miss things (with the benefit of slow motion even).

  16. The concussion goal is ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable). That does not mean zero. It means best efforts. Sometimes concussions are challenging to diagnose initially. That is why continued checks are advised. The team did that and removed Brate from the game as soon as they determined he was concussed. The system and process worked as designed.

  17. The NFL did not see a hit to the head.
    The NFLPA did not see a hit to the head.
    No responsible party reported a hit to the head.
    I did not see a hit to the head and reject flatly and unequivocally the contention that this incident was handled improperly in any way.

  18. I’m picturing these spotters as guys with walkie talkie’s and watching the game with binoculars.

  19. Three points:

    1. Cameron Brate lied, plain & simple. He lied because he wanted to get back into the game. I’m not saying Cameron Brate should be singled-out or fined for lying. I’m just saying that I believe this is the mindset of the vast majority of NFL players: Suck it up, get back in there & tough it out – don’t let your teammates down. And given that assumption, we have to move to point# 2.

    2. Since you cannot trust the players to tell you the truth about a potential concussion that they know will remove them from the game, there needs to be an independent doctor ON EACH SIDELINE to personally examine guys who look like they may have been concussed. This is in addition to the independent guy up in the booth who should be responsible to direct the sideline specialist which players need to be examined. Any player designated for a concussion exam should be prohibited from returning to the game until the examination by the on-field independent specialist is completed.

    3. The whole thing depends upon the “independent” specialists being truly independent. They have to be paid somehow, and if they are GOOD doctors one would think they would need to be paid ALOT. Very difficult to accomplish independence if they are being paid by the league.

  20. Right a governmental agency will fix it. They have done a bang up job with the economy, crime, inflation, etc.

  21. So the spotters are fact checkers which means they don’t know what they’re doing.

  22. Funny to hear people talking about government spending now, but when the last guy engineered the third biggest deficit increase in US history these people had nothing to say.

  23. Most overblown issue ever. Can’t wait until at top QB stumbles in the first quarter of the SB and he out!

  24. “Imagine these spotters yanking 15 guys a game out because they thought they might have seen head contact. You need to be sure before you turn the game upside down.” _________________________________________ No one said they wanted every possible minor head contact checked on or phantom injuries being spotted. But if a player takes a high forcible hit to the head/neck/upper torso area and stays down injured afterwards or staggers around when they get up, like Tua or Brate, that should be very straightforward enough to have him checked for a concussion.

  25. I’m sure Cam Brate already told them he was fine and even had a conversation with the docs.

    Trainer: “Cam, you good?”
    Cam: “Yeah. I’m fine.”
    Trainer: “You sure? That was really one heck of a hit.”
    Cam: “It was? Did I get a home run?”

    See? No issues.

  26. carloswlassiter says:
    October 4, 2022 at 7:09 pm
    Imagine these spotters yanking 15 guys a game out because they thought they might have seen head contact. You need to be sure before you turn the game upside down.

    Protecting the players health is more important than allegedly disrupting the game. Having someone suffer a fatal head injury on the field will certainly turn that game upside down.

  27. That would be a big loud NO from me the govt. has bigger fish to fry then be involved in a sport, Im tired of paying 3 times as much for everything Im glad you’re rich enough to pay for it.

  28. If a player gets up staggering, he should be pulled from the game for an evaluation. If he just tripped over his own feet, the evaluation will catch that and allow him to go back into the game. Why not try what the NCAA does, stop the game and review for targeting or head shot incidents. In this case it wasn’t targeting but it may have been a head shot incident. It may extend a game, but nobody seems to be complaining during the college games.

  29. spiderjohn says:
    October 4, 2022 at 9:16 pm
    I did not see a hit to the head and reject flatly and unequivocally the contention that this incident was handled improperly in any way.

    You must have been watching a different play from everyone else. However, it is good to know that we can move on now that you have issued your proclamation.

  30. The Feds will get eventually get involved with the NFL, but it will be for gambling when States start to sue to recover money they have had to spend on policing/recovery/mental health/etc for addicted gamblers that lose everything and become a problem for States.

  31. Let’s just make this simple.
    Have another independent group to review decisions made by the current “spotter”, essentially just like replay.
    If it’s found after the game that they failed to make the proper determination (such as claiming a head was not impacted when it clearly was) they are FIRED, DONE, period.

    On to the next “spotter” until they get the damn thing right. How HARD is this?????

  32. “Maybe the NFL needs a Czar of Concussions… I hear Putin is well-qualified.”

    Curious how you thought that would even get a chuckle?

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