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Mara: Concussion protocol mistakes have been made

  • By Around The NFL staff
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New York Giants co-owner John Mara says mistakes have been made in the enforcement of the league's concussion protocol during games this season.

Speaking at the Winter League Meeting in Las Colinas, Texas, on Wednesday, Mara referenced the NFL's ongoing investigations into whether concussion protocol was followed properly in the aftermath of hits sustained by quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Tom Savage.

"... Whenever you're dealing with human beings there's going to be mistakes made," Mara told reporters Wednesday at the Winter League Meeting in Arlington, Texas. "And there were mistakes made there. They haven't completed their investigation yet. But in almost every case with the concussion protocol, we get it right. But those we get wrong end up being highly publicized and that's what ended up here."

The NFL is investigating whether the protocol was carried out properly after Wilson was hit during the Seattle Seahawks' Nov. 9 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Wilson briefly left during the Seahawks' win after taking a hit to the chin early in the third quarter. The quarterback was ushered off the field by referee Walt Anderson after the hit. He then went into the sideline medical tent but sat out just one play before returning. TV cameras showed Wilson was only in the tent for seconds before returning the game. Wilson did not sustain a concussion on the hit.

Savage left Sunday's 26-16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter following a crushing blow by 49ers edge rusher Elvis Dumervil. The hit left Savage shaking on the ground -- a disturbing sight caught on video -- but the quarterback briefly returned to the field before leaving for good and being placed in concussion protocol.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association announced Monday they are looking into whether the proper protocol was followed.

"There were some breakdowns there which they're still looking into," Mara said. "You want to be perfect but when you're dealing with human beings and emotions of the game sometimes mistakes are going to be made."

The NFL has made 47 rule changes since 2002 to protect players, improve practice methods, better educate players and personnel on concussions and strengthen the league's medical protocols. The NFL deploys 29 medical professionals on the sidelines for each game. Working with the NFLPA, the league enforces a concussion protocol for players that has been instrumental in immediately identifying and diagnosing concussions and other head-related injuries.


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