NFL will not punish Texans for allowing Tom Savage back in after hit left him twitching
Although the investigation found the behavior 'unacceptable,' the Texans are in the clear
After Tom Savage took a devastating hit against the 49ers in Week 14 that left him twitching on the ground, the NFL into why the Texans allowed Savage back in the game. The investigation, handled jointly between the NFL and the NFLPA, concluded that the Texans will not be punished for letting Savage back in the game.
The review said that protocol was properly followed, but the result was unacceptable nonetheless. The parties released a statement Friday on the injury, which read:
The review showed that following a hard tackle, Mr. Savage was immediately removed from the game and evaluated for a concussion. The Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant ("UNC") and team physician reviewed the initial broadcast video, saw the play and Mr. Savage's response and followed the Protocol by performing a complete sideline concussion evaluation on Mr. Savage, which he passed. The slow-motion video, which focused more directly on the fencing posture, was not broadcast until after the doctors had begun the sideline evaluation and thus was not seen by the medical staff prior to the evaluation. The Texans medical staff continued to monitor Mr. Savage after the initial evaluation and shortly after his return to the game, identified symptoms that had not been present during the sideline evaluation and took him to the locker room for further evaluation.
In essence, the statement is saying that the real scary part of the hit -- the seizure response -- wasn't widely viewed until protocol was underway.
"[The UNC] followed the protocol as it existed then. So they were not [penalized]," Dr. Allen Sills -- the NFL's Chief Medical Officer -- told the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "Now, we've gone back and done some things, made these changes. The outcome was unacceptable. So, while they followed the protocol, the outcome was unacceptable and we have to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Since the incident, the NFL has tried to bolster its concussion protocol once again. Some of the improvements include the immediate removal of any players that show fencing or seizure responses, immediate locker-room trips for players that stumble or fall, and a party viewing video of any incidents. All of these were implemented to try and avoid this situation from occurring again.
Punishing the Texans would be hard, as the medical staff conducting these evaluations are technically independent of the team. Doing so would be unfair to the Texans, so although the results weren't acceptable, it's hard to blame the Texans unless it comes out that head coach Bill O'Brien somehow knew of Savage's response ().
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