In a report released last month, the NFL said that during the 2017 season, 281 players were diagnosed with concussion. This total was a new high for the league since they started tracking the problem six years ago and led the NFL Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills to say that the numbers were a “disappointment.”
In Minneapolis on Thursday this was addressed again at a press conference. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith explained that there was also a rise in the numbers of concussion evaluations, which stand at 400. Smith was a pains to explain how this is a positive sign and not a negative.
Smith told the press that it was “a positive” that the NFL was having more and more players evaluated for concussions, and that the NFL and NFLPA were being much “smarter and better about delivering” the types of medical care that led on to the implementation of concussion protocol though out the NFL.
Eric Winston, the president of the NFLPA, explained that the NFL “will always look for ways to improve” the overall care of its players and also addressed the investigation of whether Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Tom Savage of the Texans and Cam Newton of the Panthers received the correct concussion evaluation during games in the 2017 season.
The NFL also asked for a show of “restraint among those who attempt to make medical diagnoses based upon the broadcast video alone” and the NFLPA decided to take a relaxed approach with those who pointed fingers at the NFL with regards to not applying the protocol.
Smith said: “We need you guys to hold us accountable,” adding: “We love the fact that when people believe there’s been a violation that that’s a media issue. That’s the way, sometimes, that we force compliance.”
The NFLPA executive committee said the rise in the reported concussions because players and teammates were getting smarter with regards to speaking up when someone gets hurt.
The NFLPA executive committee also added that the “paradigm shift” in numbers reported was totally positive and can only help players as time goes on.