National Football League officials to review if Panthers followed concussion protocol
09 January, 2018, 00:27 | Author: Carla Brady
The Carolina Panthers are facing questions from the National Football League after quickly clearing Cam Newton to return to Sunday's playoff game against the New Orleans Saints. If the concussion protocol was not properly followed the team is subject to discipline, including a $150,000 fine.
However, The Washington Post noted, in the wake of a joint NFL-NFLPA investigation into the handling of Texans QB Tom Savage's concussione during the regular season, the league and union announced modifications to the protocol, one of which came into play Sunday regarding Newton: Any player who falls or stumbles after suffering a potential head injury must be be taken to the locker room for a concussion evaluation.
Newton took a shot to the head area from Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata midway through the fourth quarter. Newton made his way toward the sideline but dropped to his knees before getting there.
He sat out one play, but returned on the next offensive series and finished the game. The Saints won the game, 31-26, sacking Newton on the game's final play.
Panthers Coach Ron Rivera and Newton said after the game that the issue was that the player had been hit in the eye. A sideline evaluation is not sufficient, under the modified rules. Any player showing "gross or sustained vertical instability" following a hit is now required to be evaluated for a concussion in the locker room, according to the NFL's updated concussion protocol.
However, the question could become whether or not Newton should have been taken to the locker room for evaluations.
Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said he could not tell whether Newton was displaying any symptoms of a concussion.
The Panthers were investigated once before in the 2016 season opener at Denver when Newton took a blow to the head but remained in the game.
Jordan said the hit that Newton absorbed was significant.
"Based on what the young man (Newton) said to me, that is what I believe happened", Rivera said. He was surprised to see Newton return to the game, he said. "We're going to send him a nice little bottle of Jordan wine".
"Yeah, you know, Carolina picked him up so the brothers could reunite", Jordan said.
"I hate that I couldn't do enough to get a win today for a lot of guys I think highly of", Newton said.
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