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Blog Entry

NFL announces new sideline concussion procedures

Posted on: February 25, 2011 4:25 pm
 
Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL Head, Neck and Spine committee announced Friday the new standardized sideline concussion assessment protocol that team medical personnel will use during the 2011 season.

A combination of a symptom checklist, a limited neurologic examination including a cognitive evaluation, and a balance assessment, the new protocol is designed to better evaluate players who may have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the fancy -- and much scarier -- medical term for a concussion.

"This tool provides a standardized format for evaluating head injury that medical staff can use on the sideline," said Dr. Margot Putukian, member of NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee and chair of the Return-to-Play Subcommittee. "It incorporates the most important aspects of a focused exam, so that injury is identified, and athletes with concussion and more serious head and spine injury can be removed from play."

Essentially, the protocol will use a preseason test as a baseline and determine whether there's a "decline in function" from a player who suffered an injury on the field of play.

Clearly, this is good news for people who are concerned about player safety in the NFL (and, really, that should be everyone), but the announcement is a little disturbing in that, as noted in the press release, "a standardized protocol did not exist."

Teams previously used some sort of combination of the new protocol to determine if a player was sufficiently healthy to play, which means that there wasn't any proper objective safety measure to keep teams from allowing injured players to return to the field.

But this is still a good step -- there's definitely more that the NFL can do to improve the quality of their concussion testing, but getting a standard protocol in place is a pretty good start.

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Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 9:04 pm
 

NFL announces new sideline concussion procedures

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 8, 2012 2:03 pm
 

NFL announces new sideline concussion procedures

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 3, 2012 12:59 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 6:10 am
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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:15 am
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Since: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: February 25, 2011 8:52 pm
 

NFL announces new sideline concussion procedures

What's wrong with the current assessment protocol?
Trainer looks at the downed player and performs his diagnosis:
  1. How many fingers do you see?
  2. What day is it today?
  3. What is your name?
  4. Where are you?
  5. Do you see flashing lights when you blink?
Trainer asks coach, "He doesn't look too good Coach.  He should sit."

Coach: "It looks like player X had his bell rung.  Give him a few hits of smelling salts, two aspirin and he will be good to go.  Take one for team  player X. " Coach under his breath, "These freakin' pansies.  I'm gonna cut his butt tomorrow if we lose."


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