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By On November 24th, 2015

When a concussion is not a concussion: Better ask the NFL

Brain InflammationCase Keenum, the Quarterback for the St. Louis Rams was sacked in a play towards the end of the game and hit the turf hard. He was observed holding his helmet and wobbly on  his feet as he first stood up. These are the signs of a concussed player. A team trainer ran out to see if Keenum was OK, but was told to leave the field or have the team face a penalty. The reserve quarterback, who observed the play from the sidelines and saw the effects on Keenum, quickly began his warm-up assuming that he would be called into play. But, Keenum resumed playing as no one addressed  his concussion until the conclusion of the game.

This situation unfolded in spite of the NFL’s stated approach to reduce concussions among players through increased awareness and vigilance and rapid intervention by physicians and trained personnel to get injured players out of the game quickly. Is the NFL’s approach to concussion recognition and management a strategy to appease the public or did their system fail with Case Keenum? From my perspective, there is a problem with how Case Keenum’s concussion was identified and managed. Given what we know about the long term effects of multiple concussions, why was Case Keenum allowed to continue to play and finish out the game.

We’ll never know the truth here, but something went wrong.

Click here to read the New York Times story on Case Keenum’s concussion.

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