HOUSTON – The NFL will not discipline the Texans for their handling of quarterback Tom Savage after being concussed in a December 10 game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said, “I think we handled it the way it was supposed to be handled. I think it just, speaking for us here at the Texans, it’s always about trying to do the right thing, doing the right thing by the player, doing the right thing by the rules and that’s what we try to do.”
The Texans had to shut Savage down for the season when they placed him on the Injured Reserve list before their game with the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 16.
The team and league received plenty of bad press after Savage got back into the game after taking a big hit and could be seen twitching on the ground because of the hit. He’d eventually be pulled from the game but he played a couple of snaps before being pulled.
Now, the NFL and the NFL Player’s Association have come up with some new concussion protocols to insure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.
Here are a few of those new procedures:
- Implementing a pilot program using a centralized Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant (UNC) based at the league office to monitor the broadcast feeds of all games. The UNC will contact the team medical staff on the sideline should they observe any signs or symptoms warranting further evaluation.
- Define impact seizure and fencing responses as independent signs of potential loss of consciousness, representing “No-Go” criteria under the current protocol. Players who display either of these signs at any time shall be removed from play and may not return to the game.
- Require a locker room concussion evaluation for all players demonstrating gross or sustained vertical instability (e.g., stumbling or falling to the ground when trying to stand).
- Officials, teammates and coaching staffs have been instructed to take an injured player directly to a member of the medical team for appropriate evaluation, including a concussion assessment, if warranted.
- Require all players who undergo any concussion evaluation on game day to have a follow-up evaluation conducted the following day by a member of the medical staff.
- Add a third UNC to all playoff games and the Super Bowl to serve as a backup who can step in immediately should one of the original two UNCs be absent from the sideline for a time to attend to a more severely injured player.