NFL to make a ‘change or two’ to concussion protocol

The NFL is ready to “make a change or two” to its concussion protocol, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at a fan forum in London on Saturday, as the league faces questions about how the Miami Dolphins handled quarterback Tua Tagovailoa recently.

In response to a fan’s question about concussions and “recent events,” Goodell identified the league’s “intense focus” on this problem over the past 15 years and said his medical protocols have served as models for other sports.

“Our job really is to keep tweaking those where medical experts or other experiences tell you that this is something you can do differently,” he said.

The commissioner only took questions from fans in London ahead of Sunday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants at Tottenham Hotspur. It was not made available to the media on Saturday. The association did not clarify what the possible changes to the protocol are or when they might come into force.

Earlier this week, the NFL Players Association fired an unaffiliated neurotrauma counselor who evaluated Tagovailoa after he tripped off the field in front of Buffalo on Sept. 25 after being injured. The quarterback was assessed for a concussion, but quickly got back into the game and the Dolphins said a back injury caused his wobbly gait.

The quarterback then suffered a concussion four days later in Cincinnati and was out indefinitely.

Goodell, without mentioning Tagoviloa by name, said there was “more talk now” about concussions.

“We understand some of that chatter, but the truth is that protocols are really important. We follow that closely. We don’t see any indication that this hasn’t happened in this case. There ongoing investigation, “We’re really focused on doing that,” he said. “But we’re also willing to make a change or two in the protocols because we think we can really add another element that makes it more secure.”

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On Friday, the NFL Players Association urged the league to implement the changes in time to protect players in weekend games. The NFL said in its own statement that it was working on protocol updates but had not committed to implementing them ahead of Sunday’s games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tight End Cameron Pratt was also injured last Sunday when he was collided with a colleague Near the end of the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs, he was initially allowed to re-enter the game. Then he sat in the second half with a concussion.

Goodell said NFL players are “getting exceptional sponsorship and better than ever in NFL history, but they deserve it, that’s our commitment, that’s what we need to do.”

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