NFL: 2 players violated concussion protocol in wild-card games

By Ryan Wilson |

According to the AP, David Bakhtiari and Keenan Lewis violated protocol. (USATSI)
According to the AP, David Bakhtiari and Keenan Lewis violated the concussion protocol. (USATSI)

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During last weekend's wild-card games, Packers tackle David Bakhtiari and Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis both suffered concussions, and both players subsequently violated the league's concussion protocol, according to the Associated Press.

In a letter sent by the NFL's head, neck and spine committee chairmen, Dr. Hunt Batjer and Dr. Richard Ellenbogen -- and obtained by the AP -- one player re-entered the game and another refused to leave the sidelines. The AP identified the former as Bakhtiari and the latter as Lewis.

"On two occasions last weekend, and contrary to the advice of the team medical staffs, players who had been diagnosed with a concussion and therefore declared ineligible for play nonetheless refused to leave the sidelines as required by league concussion protocols," the letter said. "In one case, the player went back onto the field for one play before being removed from the game.

"We emphasize that we find no fault in how the team medical staffs conducted themselves last weekend. If a player refuses to follow your advice and leave the sidelines after being diagnosed with a concussion, we recommend that the head athletic trainer seek assistance from the player's position coach (or another member of the coaching staff) or from another team official to remove the player from the sidelines as soon as possible."

According to protocol, concussed players are supposed to be taken to the locker room.

Neither player will be fined, but Batjer and Ellenbogen reiterated in the letter that "[the rule] is an important element of the league's protocol and intended to safeguard the player's well-being and enhance his ability to recover from his injury."

Because the Packers lost to the 49ers Sunday, Bakhtiari's season is over. Lewis, meanwhile, has practiced this week ahead of Saturday's matchup with the Seahawks in the NFC Divisional game.

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