NFL Slap Miami for Concussion Protocol Failing

Miami Slip UP On Concussion Protocol

One of the big drives in the NFL (and lower leagues) is reducing the risks from concussion injuries. Even with modern helmets there is scientific evidence showing how damaging a big hit can be to the brain.

In the article from the New York Times you can see how research is ongoing to try and improve the equipment we use to help minimise the risks.

Settlement detail could cost the NFL up to $1 billion over 65 years

Last year, the NFL’s executive vice president for health and safety, acknowledged during congressional testimony that there is a connection between football and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Just before Christmas the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for a settlement between the NFL and former players that could cost the NFL up to $1 billion over 65 years.

It therefore comes as little surprise when the NFL comes down on any club not doing all they can to minimise the problem and protect the players.

In an statement today, the NFL has slapped Miami Dolphins following this hit on their QB Matt Moore during the playoff loss to the Steelers…

If the video won’t work via the embed, just click on the Youtube icon to see the video there or follow this link.

The statement begins…

The NFL and NFLPA have reviewed the application of the Concussion Protocol by the Dolphins’ medical staff in the January 8th Steelers-Dolphins game.

The Miami Dolphins were notified in a letter co-signed by Dr. Hunt Batjer, Co-Chair of the NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee and Dr. Thom Mayer, Medical Director for the NFLPA, that the NFL-NFLPA review determined that the Protocol was not strictly followed. The letter further advised the Dolphins that they must engage their staff in a full review of the Protocol and conduct additional education, if necessary. The Dolphins were also advised that any future deviation from the Protocol may result in enhanced discipline, including monetary fines assessed against the Club.

The play happened in the 2nd Quarter of the game and drew a flag for roughing the passer.   Matt Moore was attended to by the medical staff on the field and the sideline.  The team doctor and the Unaffiliated Neuro-trauma Consultant (UNC) took the appropriate steps to evaluation the player and reviewed the video.

They jointly cleared him to return to the game, but did not recognise that he presented with bleeding from the mouth, which is one of the documented symptoms that requires further evaluation in the locker room under the league’s concussion protocol.

The statement went onto say….

There is no indication that competitive issues had an impact on the care that Mr. Moore received, nor did Mr. Moore demonstrate any concussion symptoms either during or at any time following the game.

It is important for us to ensure everyone understands and follows the Protocol and that we continue to reinforce its importance. The co-chairmen of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee sent a memo to the medical staffs of the clubs participating in the playoffs reminding them of that point.

The issue of CTE in the NFL was initially discovered by Dr. Bennet Omalu whose struggle to get the issue recognised was portrayed by actor Will Smith in the film ‘Concussion’

Watch the film and read the research and I expect you’ll take a very different view when you see BAFA’s emphasis to remove the most dangerous hits from the game.  The BAFRA officials are also being trained to spot these dangerous plays better and to penalise those that fall under the definition of ‘Targeting‘ and to protect ‘Defenseless Players‘.

So next time you cheer when you see a player taken out by the head, perhaps you’ll think twice about the long-term viability of the sport rather than joining in the ‘hootin’ and a holleriin’.

Update: 26 March: NFL Appoints Chief Medical Officer

DR. Allen Sills is joining the NFL based out of the New York office on a new full-time role.

Dr. Sills joins the NFL from Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he serves as Professor of Neurological Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, He is also Founder and Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center.

NFL Commissionaire Roger Goodell said of the appointment…

“There is no higher priority for the NFL than player health and safety and we continually seek to raise our standards and then surpass them.  We sought a highly-credentialed physician and leader with experience as a clinician and researcher, and Dr. Sills’ extensive experience caring for athletes makes him the right choice for this important position.”