Some significant late-season changes have been made to the NFL’s concussion protocol — including the placement of a central unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant in the league’s command center for all games — following incidents that have triggered investigations.
The most notable changes in the new protocol, which was distributed publicly by the NFL just prior to Sunday’s kickoffs:
• A central UNC will be stationed in the NFL’s command center to assist in oversight of each game via broadcasts;
• Any sign of impact seizure will be considered the same as loss of consciousness and the player will be taken out of the game and may not return;
• A referee who removes a player from the game for suspected head trauma must notify the medical staff;
• A player who exhibits gross motor instability or significant loss of balance must be taken to the locker room for evaluation if it is not diagnosed as an orthopedic injury;
• A player who is evaluated for a concussion must be re-evaluated within 24 hours, even if the player has an off day;
• A third UNC will be on site for the playoffs and the Super Bowl, in addition to the two already assigned to each regular-season game.