NFL is under intense scrutiny for concussion protocols

The past fortnight has been turbulent for the NFL and its concussion protocols. With the league being under intense scrutiny regarding the issue of player’s health,

The story surrounding Miami Dolphins quarterback TuaTagovailoa has raised many questions about how head injuries are handled.

A probe is underway into Tagovailoa’s apparent head injury. The unaffiliated neurotrauma specialist who was involved with the quarterback’s initial concussion evaluation is no longer associated with the National Football League Players Association.

Dr. Allen Sills, Chief Medical Officer of the NFL, stated that “we will make this right.”

Tagovailoa won’t be able to attend the New York Jets game on Sunday.

Mike McDaniel, Dolphins head coach, stated that it was too early to predict a timetable. I can confidently say that he will be available for the game against st the Jets. We’re not concerned about anything else. Instead, we are focusing on his optimal health and then crossing the bridge. It’s too early to give any timelines.

McDaniel said that Tagovailoa is currently in the facility of the team and has had “a few good days”.

McDaniel stated that McDaniel is just trying to follow the correct procedure and protocol to ensure he feels 100%. “I know that he will be diligent about it, and if there are any lights or other issues that cause him problems, we will close that down.”

The beginning of the scrutiny

It all started on Sunday, September 25th with the Dolphins’ 21-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Tagovailoa was briefly knocked out of play in the second quarter by a hit from Matt Milano, a Bills linebacker.

The quarterback, aged 24, stumbled and was taken to the locker area for a concussion test. Milano was flagged as roughing the passer.

Initially, the Dolphins announced that Tagovailoa would not be able to return to the game due to a head injury. But he returned to the field in quarter three and completed the game throwing for 186 yards with a touchdown.

Tagovailoa said that Tagovailoa fell on his back just before his head touched the turf, causing his back and subsequent stumble. He said that he had been evaluated fa or a concussion, but was eventually cleared.

McDaniethe l, Dolphins’ head coach, mentioned a back injury. He said that Tagovailoa’s back was “bent” from an earlier play, but that the hit “loosened Tagovailoa’s back”, causing his leto gs to wobbly. McDaniel said that Tagovailoa had told him his back looked like “Gumby”, a reference to the animated classic.

Just four days later Tagovailoa was on the field for the Dolphins’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football.

In the second quarter, Bengals defensive lineman Josh Tupou sacked Tagovailoa and left him motionless on the field.

As Tagovailoa was being placed on a stretcher and backboard, the entire Dolphins sideline marched onto the field. The Bengals fans at Cincinnati’s Paycor Stadium showed their support as Tagovailoa was taken off the field.

Video of Tagovailoa showing his forearms flexed and his fingers constrained was a sign that Gupta (a neurosurgeon) said was a “fencing reaction” and could be connected to a brain injury. Gupta asked Sills (also a neurosurgeon) how worried he was after watching that video.

Sills stated, “Well, ofcourse, I am concerned just as you as a Neurosurgeon and anyone with a serious injury and neurologic signs such that.”

“The immediate concern is… making sure we do everything we can to provide expert and timely care…securing the airway, making certain that there isn’t a spine injury, and so forth.

“I am concerned about the injury and all the injuries.”

After visiting the hospital, Tagovailoa was allowed to return to Miami. McDaniel informed reporters that Tagovailoa was in “good spirits”.

Chris Nowinski is the co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. He

told the NFL that it had to “do better”.

Nowinski tweeted, “This is more than protocols.” A concussion can transform a person’s life. It’s personal for me. Twitter: “We can’t allow any other children to grow up without our fathers.”

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen stated that the league has a responsibility to “protect” quarterbacks if they are hit on the head.

Thielen stated that thohitshit to Kirk Cousinhelmetsmet have to be called as they are required to protect the quarterbacks of this league. They are very important for the success of the league and these teams. It is essential to have a great product on the field. You have to protect them.”

In a joint statement, the NFLPA and NFL released statements stating that they both agreed that the protocols should be updated to address “gross motor instability” incidents.

Sills informed Gupta the NFLPA and players are all included in the ongoing review.

Sills added, “We’ll be very transparent about what we learned and what the sequence of events is.”

Gupta observed that Tagovailoa was having trouble walking after his helmet struck the turf during Sunday’s game against the Bills. This could be a “no-go” sign indicating that a player should not or would not return to the field.

Sills stated that “gross motor instability” is a sign of neurological disease.

He said that the Bills’ hit is still being reviewed and that it is difficult to judge from video alone. Sills stressed that the decision on whether a player can be returned to a game is not made by one individual but rather a group, which includes an independent neurological expert.

Two quarterbacks were forced to leave games on Sunday by the concussion protocol: Tyrod T. Taylor from the New York Giants, and Brian Hoyer of the New England Patriots.

John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens head coach, has described the events as “astonishing”, while JC Tretter, NFLPA president, said he was outraged by what occurred.

“Until we have an objective, validated method to diagnose brain injury, it is essential that we do everything we can to reduce the possibility of human error,” JC Tretter stated in a Twitter statement.

“A failure to exercise medical judgment is a failure in the protocols that concern the well-being of our players.”

What is the NFL’s concussion protocol for football?

A concussion protocol is initiated by the booth UNC or sideline Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultants (UC) if a player has been hit in the head.

The player is either removed from the field or stabilized and tested.

Sideline surveys are performed by the UNC and team physician. This includes evaluations such as loss of consciousness, gross motor instability and confusion, amnesia, history of the event, concussion symptoms/signs, video review, and a neurological exam that includes a cervical spine exam, speech evaluation, observation of gait, eye movements, and pupillary exam.

If any part of the testing is found to be positive, inconclusive, or suspected of a concussion, the athlete is taken to the locker room and given a full neurological exam.

A player who is found to be abnormal in any way cannot return to play. They must remain in the locker room, where they are regularly evaluated by the medical team.

Before any NFL player is allowed to practice or take part in a game, they must go through a five-step procedure.

Why is concussion important for the NFL?

Because of their association with brain disease later in life, concussions have been a major concern in recent years.

A 2017 study in the medical journal JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), revealed that CTE, also known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, was present in 99% of the brains of NFL players who were donated for scientific research.

People who have suffered repeated head trauma can develop neurodegenerative brain diseases. A buildup of abnormal tau protein can lead to neuropathological symptoms. Memory loss, memory impairment, impaired judgment, aggression, depression, ion, and anxiety can all be symptoms.

An autopsy is required to diagnose it. Most cases have been diagnosed in veterans and people who were involved in contact sports such as American football.

CTE can occur early in life and not show any symptoms. A 2018 study showed this. One of the researchers in the Brain journal published a study that examined the brains of four athletes who died between 17 and 18. The four deceased athletes had all died within one to four months of sustaining a sport-related head injury. They also had a history of playing football.

At 33 years old, Demaryius Thomas, a former NFL player, died suddenly. Thomas’ family claimed that he was suffering from stage 2 CTE for months before his death.

In recent years, Vincent Jackson (age 38) and Phillip Adams (age 60), were both posthumously diagnosed as having CTE.

In 2021, a study found that NFL players are four times more likely than the general population to succumb to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

ALS is a neurodegenerative condition that is more common in older white men. Most cases are considered to be sporadic and the root causes of ALS are not yet known.

Because of a similar link between football and CTE, the researchers speculated that there might be a connection between head trauma and ALS. Research has shown that CTE and ALS could have similar effects on the brain.

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