Cam Newton was repeatedly hit in the head on helmet-to-helmet blows on Thursday night, yet he never once received a cognitive exam. Denver Broncos defenders brutalized him all game long, and there were a couple moments when the Carolina Panthers quarterback looked out of sorts.
It’s worth noting that Newton has since cleared concussion protocols after the game. However, the fact that no cognitive exam was performed on him, despite what many view as evidence that warranted such an exam, has the NFLPA on the offensive.
The NFLPA will initiate a compliance investigation into the Cam Newton incident from Thursday night's game.
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) September 11, 2016
Jason La Canfora had previously reported the potential for such a move.
“While the NFLPA is continuing to gather information, sources said the union is strongly considering launching a formal investigation into the matter,” wrote La Canfora of CBS Sports. The NFLPA wants to know why Newton never received a cognitive exam on the sidelines despite suffering repeated blows to the head, and despite Newton appearing to clutch his head and have difficulty getting to his feet at times.
“A source says the NFLPA has already conducted several interviews, but wants to talk to at least two more key figures involved in Thursday night’s game before moving forward with a final decision.”
Per La Canfora, the NFLPA has two weeks to inform the NFL if it does intend to launch a formal investigation. It’s a process that has never been enacted before now. But given the lack of compliance in the past by players and teams regarding the NFL’s concussion protocol, it might be time to finally open this box.
Interestingly, the NFL did make a statement about the matter on Friday, noting Newton was looked at by the medical staff and an independent specialist. This apparently was surprising to the union, per La Canfora, as the NFL did not conduct a formal review with the union.
The league is also launching an investigation of its own in response to the NFLPA’s decision to investigate the matter.
NFL now initiating a review of medical team's response to Cam Newton tackle, under procedure set forth by collective bargaining agreement.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 11, 2016
Another thing to watch for after the first week of NFL action will be how much the league will fine Broncos players for some of the hits they doled out on Newton. It was a brutal display that was reminiscent of years past, when defenses intentionally looked to take a guy out of a game.
Hopefully Newton does not develop any concussion symptoms in the days to come. As La Canfora points out, concussions often don’t show up for a few days after the initial trauma.