CHARLOTTE — Changes could be on the way later this week as the NFL reevaluates its concussion protocol.
Safety is once again at the forefront of the conversation after Miami Dolphins’ Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was cleared to play despite signs of injury.
Hours before the Panthers kicked off on Sunday, the NFL and Player’s Union issued a joint statement agreeing more needs to be done to protect players.
Channel 9′s DaShawn Brown said one of the key changes they’ll be considering is a medical term called “gross motor instability.” These are described as obvious signs that someone’s motor skills are off, like stumbling or involuntary movements.
That’s what a lot of viewers have witnessed two weekends in a row after Tagovailoa appeared to suffer significant blows to the head in games against the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Right now, the NFL’s concussion protocol says a player can go back and play if doctors determine something other than a head injury cause the player to fall or lose their balance.
The changes on the table right now would reportedly close that loophole, and a player would be pulled from the game immediately, according to the latest news on NFL.com.
Player safety is an issue that impact every team across the league, Panthers Head Coach Matt Rhule told Channel 9.
“I can tell you, we’ve had some really good players here have head injuries and be fine afterwards and want to go play,” Rhule said. “Dr. Gritter would say, ‘No, I don’t want them to play. Their health … you only have one brain.”
These changes have not been finalized, but the league and players’ union said it could happen in time for next Sunday’s games.
“There’s also a fine line with players as well, we have to know when to not go out there and play. ... We all have to be on the same page,” said Quarterback PJ Walker. “It’s like a car accident every week that we get put into. You go out there and play games and you have to recover. A lot of these guys don’t recover until Saturday.”
(WATCH BELOW: Study: Concussions in high school student-athletes may be risk factor for suicide, depression)
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