By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
The NFL has done a lot to address the ‘concussion problem’ in football. 60 Minutes did an entire piece on it two weeks ago and it looked like progress was being made. Then the NFL misses an obvious situation where the player should have been removed from the game.
St Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum had no business staying in Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens after his head bounced off the turf. He immediately put both hands on his helmet and then struggled as his teammate tried to help him up. It was so obvious that the Rams had backup quarterback Nick Foles go grab his helmet and get ready to go in. Keenum stayed in and after the game he was diagnosed with a concussion.
This is a big black eye for the NFL. Two weeks ago 60 Minutes does a piece talking about the state of concussions in the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell points out that the game has become safer. Heck the piece started by pointing out that there are now neurologists on the sidelines and a spotter at every game with the ability to stop the game if they think there is a player with a concussion. And then they miss an obvious situation where the game should have been stopped and the player removed.
This was not the only miss this weekend that’s for sure.
More concerning was the miss by Oklahoma during their game Saturday night against TCU. Quarterback Baker Mayfield took a helmet to the back of his head. A targeting penalty that was reviewed and resulted in the TCU’s player ejection (scrub to the 47:00 mark to see the hit). Never the less, Mayfield stayed in the game even as the TV cameras showed that he was clearly not ok. He was diagnosed with a concussion but wasn’t removed from the game until halftime. His hit took place at the beginning of the second quarter.
Colleges have no such systems like the NFL with neurologists on the sideline and concussion spotters in the press box. Should there be? YES! Would those people have been able to spot Mayfield’s struggles? We’d like to think so.
Look concussions are going to continue to happen. The game of football is a contact sport and very,very fast. It’s the aftermath that we are concerned about. Keenum and Mayfield should have never been allowed to continue to play. It’s a miss at the professional and the collegiate level. Spotting concussions has to get better. It’s not just about having a spotter in the press box but also players looking after each other on the field. The game itself is on the line.