Pro Football Talk was forwarded a memo about concussions and getting players off the field from the National Football League;
Under the heading, “WHEN IN DOUBT LEAVE THEM OUT,” the memo states: “If you have any suspicion about a player being concussed, remove him from the game. Always err on the side of caution.”
This is common sense – rather should be – and it is a practice that has and should be going on at the lower level of football (except in isolated cases in college see Lockergate). I have stated and am fully aware that professional athletes can make their own informed decisions, but it is good to practice what you preach.
It seems that the NFL is starting to at least begin to tighten the screws a little more on this issue. What was originally unclear to me back in July was the process by which they were going to accomplish this. I spoke to a member of the Head, Neck and Spine Committee in July and specifically asked if the NFL was going to follow suit of the NHL by establishing a “quiet room” technique. The answer at that time was “it has not been established, and it will be a team decision.” This now has changed, as in the memo there was the inclusion of the “Madden Rule”;
“Named for John Madden, who suggested it, this rules states that, if a player is diagnosed with a concussion and removed from a game, he must leave the field and be immediately escorted to the locker/training room, and a member of the medical staff (e.g., an ATC, paramedic, MD, fellow, or resident capable of medical intervention) must remain with the player to observe him if his injury does not require immediate hospitalization,” the memo says. “There are no exceptions to this rule and the player is NOT to return to the field under any circumstances. The Madden Rule is intended to protect the players. It provides a quiet environment to permit the player time to recover without distraction. This rule has been endorsed by the NFL Competition Committee and approved by the Commissioner.”
I would like to take credit for that one, although Madden Rule sounds better, hahaha.
In one final note on the memo I was rather surprised to see the following;
The NFL is telling medical staffs that they have the authority to order a player to the locker room whether he wants to go or not.
This has been a major issue in all professional sports; who pulls the most weight? The athlete, coach, agent, owner or medical staff. I would like to think that the organization would hire very competent medical staff’s (except some “team doctors” actually pay for the privilege), that would make decisions based upon safety. I do know the AT’s do get a check from the organization so if they are hired by the club then shouldn’t they be listened to? I mean, coaches are hired to make play calls and players are hired to run said plays, do the organizations meddle in there business (see Jerry Jones). I would expect that teams would allow the AT’s and doctors to do what is right, and with that hope that the medical teams forgo score/importance and be proactive.