Last Sunday night, the concussion protocol seemingly did not keep Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate out of motion until he was properly checked for a concussion. The league’s official position is that the pair of spotters within the booth concluded that Brate was hit within the shoulder.
During a Saturday afternoon videoconference regarding the changes to the concussion protocol resulting from the Tua Tagovailoa investigation, NFL Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills was asked in regards to the league’s contention that Brate suffered a blow to the shoulder, not the pinnacle.
“I actually agree with you,” Sills said as to the notion that the video shows Brate being struck in the pinnacle. “I feel there was contact to the shoulder and head from what I’ve seen on the video.”
Sills explained that the spotters have as much as 30 different camera angles available to them.
“They appear for a blow to a head or something where there’s . . . forces transmitted to the pinnacle or neck area, after which they give the impression of being to see in the event that they consider that injury behavior is present, and if that injury behavior would indicate a concussion protocol — or a concussion evaluation needs to be done,” Sills said.
He identified that there are quite a few situations involving blows to the pinnacle or neck area in every game that don’t exhibit injury behavior. Thus, the spotters don’t order a concussion evaluation.
“Our instructions to them are in the event that they see anything that meets the standards of injury behavior, that they need to then call down and initiate the concussion protocol, and again to be conservative in doing so,” Dr. Sills said. “That’s form of our instruction, that’s my understanding of what went on. I wasn’t within the booth that night.”
In accordance with the NFL, nonetheless, the spotters never got to the purpose at which they asked themselves whether Brate exhibited “injury behavior.” (He did.) The spotters concluded he was struck within the shoulder, not the pinnacle.
Dr. Sills agreed that Brate absorbed a blow to the pinnacle. Thus, the spotters got this one incorrect. Brate must have been checked for a concussion, at a time when he re-entered the sport without an evaluation. While the league has yet to confess that directly, the league’s top doctor now has.