Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton took several punishing hits in his team’s 21-20 loss to the Denver Broncos in Thursday night’s NFL season opener.
The most dangerous hit came on Carolina’s final drive as Newton marched his team into position for a potential game-winning field goal. Newton took a ferocious helmet-to-helmet hit that was penalized, although the penalty was cancelled out by an intentional grounding infraction.
Sadly and predictably, the league dropped the ball when it came to evaluating Newton for a possible concussion.
Even though this hit was terrifying, plus the fact Newton suffered other hits to the head earlier in the game, medical staff didn’t believe there were “indications of a concussion,” which is mind-boggling.
“There was communication between medical personnel on the Carolina sideline, including the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant, and the two independent certified athletic trainer spotters in the booth,” the league said in a statement Friday.
“During stoppage in play while on-field officials were in the process of administrating penalties, the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant and team physician requested video from the 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 from the game.”
The league says it cares about player safety, but the actions taken (or not taken) in Thursday’s game prove otherwise.
If that was your son or daughter taking that kind of hit to the head, you’d want them immediately evaluated for a concussion. It’s probably not going to happen in the NFL, though. If that hit doesn’t warrant a concussion test, what does?
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images