NFL Player Tested, Cleared of Concussion

Professional pre-season football and training camps are for players to vie for positions, learn the plays, get in game shape, and try to avoid injuries like concussions T broken bones. At the Philadelphia Eagles training camp a few weeks ago, Nnamdi Asomugha, a corner back, didn’t seem to be that lucky. While trying to defend a pass, he smashed his helmet into the chest of fellow team member Nate Allen, immediately falling to the ground, virtually immobile for more than a just few minutes. As the crowd gasped and team members silently hoped he would be alright, he was finally able to stand with assistance – and taken off to the locker room in the front seat of a cart.

Andy Reid the head coach and Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Philadelphia Eagles published a statement the next day, saying Asomugha had suffered “whiplash-type symptoms and a split lip. He didn’t have a concussion. He’s been tested. Everything’s OK there. He wasn’t knocked out. That’s not what happened when he was hit. He was completely conscious the whole time. But he did get a pretty good laceration to his lip and his back of his neck is a little bit sore.” I was thrilled to hear he hadn’t suffered a concussion. But I’m wondering why they announced that so quickly?

It’s been reported that the Eagles followed the NFL mandated concussion protocol and Asomugha didn’t have any symptoms, which seems surprising. The NFL Sideline Concussion Assessment Protocol was issued to all teams in February 2011 and was developed for this type of injury. When a concussion is suspected, there are six “red box” signs the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee has developed in their concussion protocol and are:

  • if the player is unresponsive or has loss of consciousness
  • if the play has any confusion
  • if the player has amnesia – retrograde (can’t remember events just before injury) and/or anterograde (can’t remember events after or maybe even before injury)
  • if the play has persistent or new symptoms like headache, dizziness or nausea
  • if the player has any abnormal neurological findings
  • if the player has persistent, worsening or progressive symptoms

It’s fantastic that the NFL is finally getting their heads wrapped around the concussion issue. I guess my concern is why make an announcement that the player is fine – so quickly after a major hit like that? On the other hand, at least they aren’t ignoring the incident or saying it was just a “ding” and he “shook it off” and is fine. I guess this is progress, baby steps.

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