The NFL’s concussion protocol has been the subject of much criticism this season, specifically for the way players have been allowed to re-enter games shortly after exhibiting symptoms that suggest they may have suffered a concussion.
Texans quarterback Tom Savage, for example, was seen spasming after taking a big hit on the field roughly one month ago, and then somehow re-entered the game on the team’s next series. Savage had been evaluated for a concussion in the medical tent, yet was somehow cleared to take the field soon after. And his situation is not the first instance that has been called into question, either.
The Seahawks were recently fined $100,000 for violating the NFL’s concussion protocol, stemming from Russell Wilson’s failure to be evaluated during a game. It was determined by referee Walt Anderson that Wilson may have suffered a concussion, but Wilson re-entered the game without undergoing the medical examination.
Wilson’s teammate, cornerback Richard Sherman, who is is currently recovering from a ruptured Achilles, decided to sound off about the NFL’s concussion protocol in a video for The Players’ Tribune which was posted on Thursday, and he did not mince words. Sherman called the NFL’s concussion protocol an “absolute joke,” and insinuated that the policy is more about the league attempting to send a message that it cares about its players.
“It’s for public opinion, for them to show the public that they care about the players, they care about player safety,” Sherman said. “In a show of good faith and goodwill, they said we’re going to have an independent trauma expert, an independent neurologist, approve people, and the same things are happening that were happening before.”
Sherman has never been shy about sharing his opinion, and other NFL players would likely agree with him, although they probably wouldn’t have been as forthright as he was.
It’s unlikely that the NFL will issue a statement as a response to Sherman’s comments, but it will be interesting to see if the league further revises its concussion protocol in the future.