NFL Checking in on Procedures for Diagnosing Concussions

Following an ugly incident on Thursday night that saw San Diego Chargers safety Jahleel Addae remain in the game after suffering a concussion, there is some concern around the league that the NFL’s concussion protocal isn’t up to snuff.

After the play in question, Addae seemed to show serious symptoms of a concussion, but those responsible for removing him from the game failed to take him out of the game.

It was quite obvious that Addae was suffering from some disorientation following the hit. Addae was eventually diagnosed with a concussion on Friday night. But the Chargers remain adamant that they followed the protocals on the sideline during the game. At first, Addae was diagnosed with a stinger.

This simply can’t happen in today’s NFL.

And now, it appears that the NFL has taken notice (via Pro Football Talk).

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league office was dismayed by the failure of the team, the game officials, the sideline medical experts, and the persons given the task of monitoring the game from the press-box level to spot what instantly was noticed during the game at 345 Park Avenue: That Addae was in distress and needed to immediately come out of the game.

One source at the league office even went as far to say this to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.

This is not boxing,” one source told PFT. “There’s no such thing as a standing eight count.”

As PFT points out, a memo released in 2011 introducing the Madden Rule, indicated that players have a responsibility to report symptoms. But it’s rather obvious that no disclosure from a player was needed following the hit that Addae suffered. He was clearly dazed and confused.

The NFLPA is also reviewing the incident with its medical team, which could lead it to work with the NFL in reviewing the league’s concussion protocal.

Concussions have been a big point of contention around the NFL in recent years. A group of former players are in the process of suing the league for its handling of this situation in the past. And the end result of that suit could very well lead to one of the largest financial settlements in the history of professional sports.

A recent study by the PBS show Frontline showed that 76 of 79 deceased former players tested for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) showed signs of the degenerative brain disease.

We will refer to Frontline for an explanation on the condition. 

CTE occurs when repetitive head trauma begins to produce abnormal proteins in the brain known as “tau.” The tau proteins work to essentially form tangles around the brain’s blood vessels, interrupting normal functioning and eventually killing nerve cells themselves. Patients with less advanced forms of the disease can suffer from mood disorders, such as depression and bouts of rage, while those with more severe cases can experience confusion, memory loss and advanced dementia.

It goes without saying, that NFL concussion procedures need to be changed. There is absolutely no reason that a player in the situation Addae was in on Thursday night should be allowed to remain in the game. And on the heels of the bad press the NFL has received as it relates to the concussion issue around the league, it must take drastic steps to further limit the long-term health effects of current and former players.

Immediately acknowledging that there is are issues with the current concussion protocal is the first step.

Photo: Zimbio.com