NFL Agrees to Revise Concussion Protocols

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The Facts

  • The NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have agreed to modify the league's concussion protocol following a joint investigation into the NFL's procedures. This follows the recent and high-profile injury to the Miami Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa.

  • On Saturday, both organizations released a joint statement on their findings, concluding that "the outcome, in this case, was not what was intended when the protocol was drafted." Both the NFL and NFLPA concurred to add the term "ataxia" to the mandatory so-called "no-go" symptoms.

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

No one should be surprised that the revenue-focused NFL has continuously failed to protect players against serious head injuries. With a lot of lip service despite not delivering, it's clear that the NFL is all talk and will never take the real, appropriate, and necessary medical measures to reduce the growing number of players suffering from brain damage.

Pro-establishment narrative

The NFL and its players' union, the NFLPA, agreed in lockstep to revise concussion protocols in the aftermath of the scary Tagovailoa incident. Their collaboration involved a detailed investigation by both sides and the rapid update of the game day checklist. NFL players receive and deserve top-notch medical care. This shows the league and the union can work effectively to improve player safety.

Cynical narrative

This rule change is mainly symbolic and causes odd disruptions in play. There are better non-medical changes the NFL and NFLPA can make like expanding the active roster size and allowing two backup quarterbacks at all times. There's a high potential for this rule to be enforced haphazardly, which doesn't help the league, union, teams, or players in the end.

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