Head injuries in the NFL are not new, but with more spotlight on their long-term effects to player health, the league has instituted protocol to address the diagnosis and management of concussions.
There are seven observable symptoms used to identify players with concussions. Those are:
- Any loss of consciousness
- Blank or vacant look
- Clutching of head after contact
- Disorientation (e.g., unsure of where he is on the field or location of bench)
- Motor coordination/balance problems (stumbles, trips/falls, slow/labored movement)
- Slow to get up following a hit to the head ("hit to the head" may include secondary contact with the playing surface)
- Visible facial injury in combination with any of the above
When spotters or other medical personnel see those signs, that’s when the protocol goes into effect.
Keyword: long concussion protocol