Blog Entry

NFL sends memo to teams on new concussion policy

Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:41 pm
The NFL wants to make sure trainers don't miss hits like the one on McCoy. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The NFL is instituting a new in-game concussion protocol beginning in Week 16, as first reported by CBS Sports Charley Casserly, and as previously mentioned on The NFL Today by Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Under this policy, certified athletic trainers will be present at all games in order to ensure players that suffer concussions aren't at risk to return to games following their potential brain injury.

On Wednesday, the NFL sent a memo to all its clubs detailing two changes that will take place beginning on Thursday night.

"First, we have arranged for a certified athletic trainer to be at each game to monitor play of both teams and provide medical staffs with any relevant information that may assist them in determining the most appropriate evaluation and treatment," the memo reads. "This athletic trainer will be stationed in a booth upstairs with access to video replay and direct communication to the medical staffs of both teams. In most cases, the athletic trainer will be affiliated with a major college program in the area or will have previously been affiliated with an NFL club."

However, the NFL noted that this trainer will not "diagnose or prescribe treatment, nor have any authority to direct that a player be removed from the game." The role of the trainer will be to "provide information to team medical staffs" in the event that said staffs missed a potential concussion or injury as a result of other action/injuries taking place.

Additionally, the NFL noted that medical staff will be allowed to use cell phones going forward when taking care of a player who was injured.

"Second, club medical staffs will be permitted to use their cell phones during games for purposes of obtaining information relating to the care of an injured player," the memo reads. "This is not limited to concussions and is intended to assist team medical staffs in addressing a variety of injuries."

There are sure to be plenty of snide comments made whenever a member of the Patriots staff fires up a cell phone (see: Gate of Spy), but the reality is that the NFL's taking a significant and important step in attempting to reduce the negative effect of concussions on its players.

Football players who suffer traumatic brain injuries (the not-as-nice name for concussions) are significantly more likely to sustain long-term brain damage if they suffer another concussion soon thereafter. And there's simply nothing safe about having someone on the field who can't process what's going during a play because of suffering a brain injury.
It's nice to see the league taking positive steps towards limiting the exposure to brain damage for its players.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.

Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2011 2:48 pm

NFL sends memo to teams on new concussion policy

To answer your question, team doctors are already there, but they can be conflicted by their association with the team. A good doctor wouldn't allow themselves to choose the "good of the team" over the "good of the player," but given the financial benefits that come from being associated with a pro team, it's understandable if a doctor, in the heat of a game, would let a player go back in if it's a close call. 

Also, the NFL is covering its butt here, legally. They're facing lawsuits from former players and one way to mitigate any future judgments is to say "we are taking steps to protect players going forward."  

Since: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 9:14 am

NFL sends memo to teams on new concussion policy

They have to send a memo?
Where are the team doctor? What the heck have they been doing for the past 50 years ?


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or