The National Football League has adopted a new rule that prevents any player who suffers a concussion from returning to action the same day if he exhibits certain symptoms. Issued on December 2, the rule becomes effective immediately and is binding on all 32 NFL teams. Key indications that can send a player to the sidelines include disorientation, inability to remember assignments or plays, a gap in memory, persistent dizziness, or persistent headaches.

The official NFL statement adds that “once removed for the duration of a practice or game, the player should not be considered for return-to-football activities until he is fully asymptomatic, both at rest and after exertion, has a normal neurological examination, normal neuropsychological testing, and has been cleared to return by both his team physician(s) and the independent neurological consultant.”

The new rule reverses a protocol established in 2007 that a player should be benched only if he experienced a blackout. This rules change comes after an increasing outcry from lawmakers, healthcare professionals, and retired athletes for the way the NFL addresses brain injuries that have emerged in both active and former players.

According to the New York Times, “The league’s former practice of allowing players to return when their concussion symptoms subside has been criticized for putting its players at risk. It is widely known that symptoms of a concussion can reappear hours or days after the injury, indicating that the player had not healed from the initial blow. The culture of playing through brain injuries in the N.F.L. has also influenced younger players, for whom repeat concussions can be serious.”

Some observers feel the rule doesn’t go far enough, however, or that a player might try to hide an injury to stay on the field. With that in mind, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is encouraging players “to be candid with team medical staffs and fully disclose any signs or symptoms that may be associated with a concussion.”

In the meantime, on a day-to-day basis, most Virginia residents are more likely to suffer a severe blow to the head in a slip-and-fall accident or car crash rather than in a sports-related injury. In other words, concussions aren’t restricted to the world of professional or collegiate athletics by any means. If you believe that you (or a family member) have sustained a traumatic brain injury, it is important to hire an experienced Virginia brain injury attorney. The Virginia brain injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, P.C. have the experience needed, and the requisite contacts with the best doctors in the area, to ensure you and your loved ones have the best representation possible. Call Toll Free 877-544–5323 for a no-obligation consultation.


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