NFL determines Panthers followed proper protocol with Cam Newton

The NFL and NFLPA have determined the Carolina Panthers followed proper concussion protocol in the season opener against the Denver Broncos in regards to quarterback Cam Newton.

The league and player's union both did separate investigations, and came to the same conclusion. It was the first time both parties completed their reviews since the two entities announced a new policy in July to enforce the NFL’s game day concussion protocol and penalize teams that don't follow it properly.

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Here's part of the league's and NFLPA's statement on the matter.

The NFL and NFLPA have conducted reviews of the application of the Concussion Protocol in the September 8th Panthers-Broncos game and have determined the following. In the fourth quarter, Mr. Newton incurred a helmet-to-helmet hit which drew a penalty. Mr. Newton was slow to get up following that hit. The Panthers medical staff and the Unaffiliated Neuro-trauma Consultant (UNC) were positioned together on the sidelines monitoring the game and were unable to see the point of contact and decided to review the play via the sideline video replay system. In order to facilitate the video review, the team physician and UNC initiated radio contact with the Booth ATC and asked to view the video. Under the current application of the Protocol, once contact between the Booth ATC and the club's medical team occurs, the Booth ATC's responsibilities end (including the ability to call a medical time out). The time it took to actually receive the video following this request was prolonged due to a technology glitch. After reviewing the replay and observing Mr. Newton from the sideline, the Panthers' medical staff and the UNC agreed that no further evaluation of Mr. Newton was necessary as they did not observe signs or symptoms of concussion.

Newton took four helmet-to-helmet hits in Carolina's 21-20 loss to Denver during the season's opening game. The quarterback got up slowly following a head-to-head hit from Broncos' safety Darian Stewart on the Panthers' final offensive drive, prompting many to question the Panthers' concussion protocol process.

Carolina could have lost a draft pick or been fined if the league or player's association ruled the Panthers didn't follow the protocol properly.

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