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NFLPA Agrees To Change Concussion Protocol, NFL Responds

The National Football League Players Association announced Friday that they’ve agreed to formal changes to the current concussion protocol. However, the Players Association is calling on the NFL to agree before any games kick off this weekend.

The Players Association made its announcement Friday afternoon.

“Our union has agreed to change the concussion protocols to protect players from returning to play in the case of any similar incident to what we saw on September 25. We would like these changes to go into effect before this weekend’s games to immediately protect the players and hope the NFL accepts the change before then as well.”

The league didn’t take long to issue its rebuttal statement Friday, saying they’ve already consulted several experts who agree.

“As we have discussed with the NFLPA, we agree that changes to the join NFL-NFLPA protocols are necessary to further enhance player safety. We have already spoken to members of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee and the leadership of the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultants and Independent Certified Athletic Trainers who serve as spotters to discuss these likely changes.”

NFLPA wants the changes in concussion protocol to be put into place for this weekend’s games: — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 7, 2022

Tua Tagovailoa’s Concussion Evaluation

The NFLPA opened an investigation into Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion evaluation after hitting the back of his head on the ground against the Buffalo Bills on September 25. Tua was taken to the locker room after stumbling and falling after getting back off the ground. The team says he passed their evaluation and then was allowed to return to the field. Miami would go on to say he suffered a back injury.

Speaking with @judybattista on @nflnetwork, NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills says Tua Tagovailoa was checked for concussion symptoms every day since Sunday. Points out independent neuro expert had to clear him. Once review is done, full results will be released publicly. — Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 30, 2022

Tua played that following Thursday Night against the Cincinnati Bengals and suffered a scary injury while being spun to the turf head-first. After being carted off and taken to a local hospital, doctors diagnosed him with a concussion. Tua has since been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Our interview with NFL CMO Dr. Allen Sills on why Tua Tagovailoa was allowed to fly home, what happened last Sunday and on the subsequent concussion checks during the week, and on whether the concussion protocol could be changed as a result. — Judy Battista (@judybattista) September 30, 2022

Both the NFL and the Players Association agreed to terminate the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who initially evaluated the quarterback during the Bills game. They both also appeared willing to change the protocol beforehand based on what the review would reveal.

Based on their statement, the NFL appears to be on the same page with the NFLPA but hasn’t agreed on a timeline for implementing any new policies.

Earlier this year, the league admitted that they were concerned with higher concussion injury rates on special teams. The league concluded that overall concussions were up in 2021 (187) from where they were in 2020 (172) but were quick to point out that no preseason games were played in that pandemic year, so the rate itself dropped.

The NFL and NFLPA announce they agree concussion protocols were properly applied with Tua Tagovailoa on Sept. 25, but that those protocols — now modified — were insufficient. Joint statement: — Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 8, 2022


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