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Nfl Needs To Improve Handling Of In-game Concussions


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The NFL is full of high impact hits and we all love seeing someone getting "jacked up"! If a player pulls a muscle or breaks a bone, bummer but it will heal. However we do not like seeing the player not moving or having no idea where he is.

What has always bothered me is seeing that same player reenter the game in a seemingly semi conscious state. There are many new helmets and monitoring devices being tested for players every day. Hopefully there will be a time when concussions are virtually eliminated from the game. Until then I agree with the idea addressed in the article regarding the NFL having someone on the side lines to monitor an injured players status. I have posted many threads regarding concussions and will continue to do so!


If we could change one thing about the NFL, we'd assign a neurologist to every officiating crew, and we'd charge him or her with the responsibility of monitoring players who have suffered in-game concussions, and we'd give him or her the ability to pull the player out of the game -- and to refuse to allow him to return.

We'd make this move because we continue to be troubled by evidence of guys like Ravens safety Ed Reed getting blowed up (thanks, Emmitt) by Steelers wideout Hines Ward and then returning to the field. Reed hasn't practiced since Monday night's game, and he might not play on Sunday against the Bengal's due to the concussion that he sustained when Ward took him out with a devastating block.

Although the NFL is trying to devise strategies for ensuring that players who are suffering from the effects of a concussion won't be forced back to the field prematurely, the more pressing need for objectivity arises when a player gets his "bell rung" during a game. Under those circumstances, the player wants to return and the coaching staff wants to let him return. The team's doctors usually aren't inclined to intervene, for fear that they won't be the team's doctors for much longer if they do.

So the league needs to take this matter into its own hands. If a boxing referee can pull the plug on a fight because of concerns regarding the health of one of the two participants, the NFL should empower an official to park one of the 90 dressed-out players on the bench for the rest of the game, if it appears that a player has suffered a concussion.

The problem, of course, is that it's impossible to determine who has and hasn't suffered a concussion -- especially if the player suffered merely a mild brain-banging and he realizes that if he taps out he might not be allowed to come back in.

But Riddell, one of the companies that makes helmets for the NFL, has a system for monitoring in-game head impacts. We'd never heard of this technology until a reader forwarded the link to us. It's currently unknown whether the NFL is using it. (And we suppose that this is the kind of information on a disreputable web site that Bill Polian doesn't want "real" journalists to ever chase.)

Change isn't needed in the NFL only. As anyone who was watching the Louisville-West Virginia game on Thursday night surely realized, Mountaineers quarterback Pat White never should have been allowed to re-enter the fray.

While White didn't suffer a potentially devastating second concussion while his brain was adjusting to the concussion that he obviously sustained earlier in the game, our guess is that, sooner or later, a player who has been permitted to return to the field after suffering a concussion will get another concussion -- and could end up being seriously injured, or worse.

When that happens, of course, there will be an overreaction at every level of the sport. Our preference would be to see meaningful change before the worst-case scenario ever happens.

We have a feeling that the family of the player who might someday be that worst-case scenario would agree.

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