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Andy Reid: open communication key to figuring out concussion protocol

The discussion on how best to handle concussions in the NFL is evolving after Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s scare last week. Reid says communication is key.


Everyone in the NFL and anyone who pays attention to it is talking about concussions right now. After the Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went down last week, scrutiny over the way his injury was handled began.

The NFL has already spent years researching the best way to handle concussions. Several years ago, they were just accepted as part of the game. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. The NFL enacted stricter concussion protocols in 2011, which included a five-step process before being allowed to return to the field.

Despite those protocols and the fact that they are reviewed every year to ensure they stay up to date, what happened to Tagavailoa brought even more questions to the surface and proved why more still needs to be done.

“The league and the doctors have spent so much time on this, trying to figure it out and make it right,” said Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid. “So I think it’s an ongoing deal and we keep learning and that’s the most important thing. We don’t just put walls up and say, ‘this is the way it’s going to be’. They’re willing to work with it and they’re doing that and finding things out as we go, and likewise the players are.”

The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to update the concussion protocols following Tagovailoa’s accident. It is subject to approval from the NFLPA’s health and safety committee, but it would rule out any player who shows gross motor instability like Tagavailoa did in Week 3 against the Bills.

The NFL’s head, neck, and spine committee and the NFLPA’s Mackey-White health and safety committee are still discussing the final language. If it is approved, the changes could be in place by the start of Week 5. NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills made it clear that team phyisicians, unaffiliated neurotrauma consultantsn and certified athletic trainers will need to be properly coached on how to apply the updated protocols. There must be consistency across the league before they can be fully implemented.

“It’s open communication. I’m not sure it’s always been that way,” said Reid. “But it’s open communication amongst the parties there. So if we keep that up, we’ll kind of figure this thing out here as we go.”


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