NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NFL’s concussion policy is getting some teeth.
The league and the NFL Players Association on Monday announced rule changes that could discipline teams that don’t follow the concussion protocol.
The NFL and NFLPA will each designate a representative to monitor the implementation of the policy and investigation any possible violations. Following the investigation, the two organizations will determine whether an infraction occurred and, if so, recommend a punishment. If the two sides cannot agree on discipline, a third-party arbitrator would be called upon to issue a report to the commissioner, NFLPA executive director and other involved parties.
The commissioner will have the final say in determining discipline.
Potential punishments include, for the first violation, remedial education for employees found to be involved and/or a fine of up to $150,000 for the team. Subsequent violations will result in a minimum fine of $100,000 against the team.
The commissioner could also strip teams of draft picks and impose additional fines if a club’s medical team fails to follow the protocol due to competitive considerations.
In 2011, the NFL implemented a new standardized sideline concussion assessment protocol, which includes a symptom checklist, to ensure players do not return to the field immediately after suffering a concussion. But there have been some instances of players remaining in games after suffering significant blows to the head.
Late during a game in November, for example, Rams quarterback Case Keenum’s helmet slammed into the turf after a hit late against the Baltimore Ravens. Keenum stayed in the game for the Rams’ final two offensive plays. He was later diagnosed with a concussion.