Blog Entry

League looking use of 'concussion-like symptoms'?

Posted on: November 7, 2011 3:45 pm
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Posted by Will Brinson

During today's podcast, I went on a bit of a rant about the need for the NFL to tweak the policy for handling in-game concussions. Not only can a player clearly suffering from a concussion like Hines Ward be classified as "questionable" with a "stinger," but the NFL doesn't have any objective sideline method of determining whether or not a player suffered a terminology brain injury (TBI).

The latest terminology teams are using to sidestep concussions? "Concussion-like symptoms," which is the diagnosis that the Steelers gave for Ward, even though the wide receiver took a clear shot to the head and was never even guaranteed to play on Sunday ... because of a concussion he suffered previously.

Fortunately, it appears the NFL will at least examine whether or not the term "concussion-like symptoms" is acceptable on an in-game medical report.

"We review these matters carefully each week," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on Monday.  "That is as far as I can carry the discussion right now."

Hopefully the NFL will determine that teams need to stop skirting the concussion classification and mete out punishments to teams that try to circumvent the rules by calling blatant concussion injuries something that they're not. ("Neck injury" is the most ridiculous, although "concussion-like symptoms is just flagrant.)

And now also seems like a good time to point you in the direction of an article I penned back in February, about an objective, handheld concussion test that's being researched in North Carolina right now. It can determine -- with science! -- whether or not a player suffered TBI, and eliminate the risk of a team accidentally (or purposely) re-inserting a player in a game who's at serious risk for further brain injury.

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