NFL and NFLPA Announce Addition to Concussion Protocols

It's been a hotly debated subject lately

Tua Tagovailoa
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 29: Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins warms up prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium on September 29, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

“[T]he outcome in this case was not what was intended when the Protocol was drafted.”

That’s among the phrases that stand out the most from a recent joint statement from the NFL and the NFLPA in the wake of Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion and its aftermath. The analysis from league and players’ association alike is that the measures in place to address concussions are in need of bolstering — including one new qualification for when a player should be considered unable to play.

This is the full sentence from which the excerpt above was taken: “Following the complete review, the parties concluded that while the step-by-step process outlined in the Concussion Protocol was followed, the outcome in this case was not what was intended when the Protocol was drafted.” In other words, the protocols themselves need to be changed.

The most immediate change involves adding ataxia to the list of conditions under which a player will not be permitted to return to the game. Here’s the joint statement again: “if a player is diagnosed with ‘ataxia’ by any club or neutral physician involved in the application of the Concussion Protocol, he will be prohibited from returning to the game, and will receive the follow-up care required by the Protocol.”

It’s a step forward for the league — but whether it proves to be enough remains to be seen.

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