A more aggressive approach to the management of concussions has been implemented by NFL teams to prevent players from going back into the game once they have had a concussion. The new protocol brings a physician’s opinion early into the decision making process, and the use of spotters who see players who may be showing symptoms following a play but have not lost consciousness.
Certainly, the NFL is dealing with the negative publicity they continue to receive regarding the retired players who are now showing signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE as well as the much disputed settlement. NeuroNotes has featured many blogs about CTE, multiple concussions and the NFL’s issues for the last several years and has been most fortunate to have George Visger, a retired San Francisco 49’r, as a contributor. Through George Visgers’s blogs we have been afforded an opportunity to consider the long term issues, learn about the short-sighted NFL settlement and meet players who are living with the effects of brain injury. The revised concussion management protocol is a step forward for the NFL. However, is it adequate, or can more be done with improvement to equipment or changes to the rules of the game? As we have learned, CTE will never be adequately compensated. The best approach is to avoid the multiple injuries that lead to CTE.
The NFL is a huge industry based on a single product: football. Can it save itself from self-destruction, or is it a case of too little, too late?