If you have followed for the past few months you will notice a big increase of posts on one journalists offerings: Mike Florio. He has taken up the “professional” version of what we have been doing for the past 16 months here on The Concussion Blog. Although Florio was not an initial proponent of the athletic trainer looking down from above, it seems that he has warmed to the idea.
What that move has done is begin the motion of putting independent neurologist on the sideline/stadium for the evaluation process. Florio has outlined the basic premise as to why it makes the best sense, but in his most recent post he makes the strongest case yet;
Though Dr. Ellenbogen said he believes doctors aren’t going to be “bought and sold” to make team-friendly decisions based on the potential impact on their practices from an affiliation with NFL teams, his reference to the possibility that coaches can influence doctors should raise eyebrows. Long suspected by many that coaches who peer over the team-hired doctors’ shoulders while the team-hired doctors are evaluating players for possible concussions tend to mudge any close questions toward diagnoses like “dirt on the face,” Ellenbogen’s acknowledgement of that very real human dynamic makes it even more important that independent neurologists be involved in the process.
One thing that Florio does not mention is that in some cases the physician practices actually pay the team for the privilege, for what that is worth.