The NFL Concussion Protocol

See the NFL Concussion Protocol here.

Let’s get some clarity and wade through all the jargon.

If a player exhibits or reports symptoms or signs suggestive of a concussion or stinger, the player is removed and the sideline assessment is performed.

Yet, during the sideline assessment (performed minutes later) the player assessment becomes magically “normal” and the video becomes “benign” and thus the player may be returned. Huh?

One more time – a player’s signs and symptoms, observed or reported, caused someone to call for the player’s removal. Under the Wizard of Oz tent, these same signs and symptoms, observed and reported minutes earlier, somehow don’t count?

The protocol states “if any elements of the sideline assessment are positive, inconclusive, or suspicious for the presence of a concussion, the player must be escorted to the locker room.” So they were suspicious enough for the player to be removed and assessed, but not suspicious enough to require a further examination?

The protocol admits that the athlete might have a concussion even if the LOCKER ROOM assessment is “within normal limits” compared to the baseline. There can even be “subtle deficits” and the aforementioned list of signs and symptoms is “not an exhaustive list.

And when is the mystical concussion “diagnosed?” What actually constitutes a diagnosis? And when?

The stop gap for the NFL is the fact they state that the Team Physician is the be all end all when it comes to making the concussion diagnosis and returning the player to play.

I have one question - Is this the protocol you want your child’s league to use; is it the way you want your child to be assessed? Oh my! Not mine!

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