The NFL and NFLPA will investigate the handling of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton under the concussion protocol following Thursday’s game, in which Newton took multiple helmet-to-helmet hits from Broncos defenders.
Newton wasn’t examined until after the game, as the league’s independent concussion spotter and athletic trainer had determined that Newton did not need to be examined on the sideline during the game, even as he struggled to get up.
The NFL said on Friday that the neurotrauma spotter and team physician “requested video from the [athletic trainer] spotters and reviewed the play. They concluded there were no indications of a concussion that would require further evaluation and the removal of the player.” A postgame examinations determined that Newton, who said he didn’t remember what he was asked, was not diagnosed with a concussion.
Now, the NFLPA has interviewed people involved in enforcing the concussion protocol, per Jason La Canfora, and has decided to go forward with opening an investigation into the matter.
The NFL announced a separate investigation, saying in a statement today that it “is committed to the proper application of the Concussion Protocol.”
In order to ensure that it is being uniformly applied across all 32 NFL teams, we have decided to initiate a review of the medical team’s response to the Cam Newton tackle, under the procedure set forth by the collective bargaining agreement. Under that procedure, representatives from the league and the players association will review the relevant documents and video and interview the involved parties to ensure that the Protocol was applied properly. It is important to note that initiation of this process does not mean that we have seen any evidence that the Protocol was applied improperly, but simply reflects our obligation to ensure the health and safety of our players.