The NBA’s concussion policy is flawed. It is not necessarily that the NBA, its teams, and its players are trying to hide concussions—though they certainly have the incentive to do so—but that concussions cannot be adequately diagnosed by a ten-minute battery of tests in the locker room. We got a stark reminder of that tonight.
Early in the fourth quarter, Klay Thompson took a nasty knee from Trevor Ariza:
Thompson went back to the locker room to have his bleeding ear sewn up, and Doris Burke reported on the broadcast that he did not undergo concussion tests. He returned to the bench and was cleared to play, but did not end up re-entering the game as the Warriors lead never dipped below nine:
You can guess what happened next. While being interviewed on national TV post-game Thompson said that he felt dizzy, and the Warriors just released this statement:
Definitionally, a concussion is about symptoms, and those symptoms can take a day to appear. Luckily Klay Thompson did not return to the game, but it wasn’t out of an abundance of caution. The statement says that Thompson was put through a “concussion evaluation,” but it is unclear what that means since Burke reported that he did not undergo concussion tests. But either way, as long as the NBA concussion policy allows players who pass a couple of tests to re-enter the game, this is going to keep on happening.
Update (2:07): The post has been updated to better express the uncertainty over exactly what tests Thompson did or did not undergo.