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Super Bowl Injury Raises Questions About NFL Concussion Policies

This past weekend marked one of the most important events in all of professional athletes. Across the country, millions of fans watched the Seattle Seahawks and New England patriots battle for the Super bowl championship. As fans sat glued to their televisions, they winced as players collided with one another in a gladiator like fashion. There were a few injuries to witness, including a somewhat graphic incident that kept a Seahawk out of the game. But one particular collision left viewers and the media questioning the League’s concussion policies and game protocol.

The Bleacher Report is reporting about a concussion scare that involved New England Patriot Julian Edelman. The incident occurred in the fourth quarter of the game, when Edelman was the subject of a jolting block by Seattle’s Kam Chancellor. Following the hit, viewers watched as Edleman seemingly staggering around the field as he continued in the game. As stated in the article, several of his team members also noticed his unsteadiness and later made statements to the press in regards to it. In addition, social media exploded with tweets questioning his well being.

While many onlookers did not see Edelman receiving any treatment, it was reportedly discovered that he did undergo a sideline valuation by the head Patriots athletic trainer and a neurological physician independent from the team. According to the report, an NFL injury monitor tagged the play for medical review. The attending physicians looked him over once he returned to the sideline and also reviewed footage of the hit. Cased upon their observations, he was reportedly allowed to reenter the game. But even with the surfacing of these reports, many fans are still questioning the effectiveness of the tests, based on what they observed with their own eyes. Edelman’s staggering and apparent distress did not reconcile with reports that he could return to play.

The Effectiveness of the Current Policy
Dr. David Chao is a former NFL trainer. In the article, he explains that current NFL concussion policies largely depend on the player’s willingness to self report. He stated that, as long as a player successfully answers the screening questions, he can return to play upon asserting that he feels fine.

The article’s writer makes a few suggestions for the NFL’s concussion policy going forward:

***The initial spotters can stop a play as soon as possible injury is detected

***Any play suspected of injury is removed from play for the remainder of the game, in spite of any negative screening results

***Pull players off the field after every big hit
He acknowledges that these policies would likely upset passionate football fans, who love the forcefulness of a big hit. But until changes are made, NFL players like Edelman are in danger of concussions, and even more troubling, the risk of second impact that goes along with continuing in the game.

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