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Seahawks fined for not following concussion protocol


The NFL issued a fine to the Seattle Seahawks for failure to properly apply concussion protocol on a hit to the head of quarterback Russell Wilson during a Week 10 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

A joint NFL and NFL Players Association review resulted in a $100,000 fine for the team, and the coaching and medical staffs will be required to attend remedial training regarding the protocol.

"The results of the joint review determined that the protocol was triggered when Mr. Wilson was directed to the sideline for an evaluation after the referee, Walt Anderson, concluded that a medical examination was warranted," the joint statement read. "Nonetheless, the required evaluation was not conducted and Mr. Wilson was permitted to return to the game without an evaluation. Once it is determined that a medical examination is warranted, a player may only be cleared to return by the medical staff; Mr. Wilson's return to the field without a sideline concussion evaluation was therefore in violation of the Concussion Protocol. Subsequently the team medical staff did examine the player and clear him per the protocol."

The Seahawks released the following statement regarding the NFL and NFLPA's review a short time later:

Wilson briefly left the field after taking a third-quarter hit to the jaw by Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby. The quarterback went into the sideline medical tent for a few seconds before returning to play.

"I thought everything was done in the right way -- there was a lot of confusion," Wilson told reporters Thursday. "I didn't really understand why I was coming out of the game anyway. I was completely cleared. My jaw was a little messed up but other than that. But that's what they decided."

Speaking to reporters after the game last month, Wilson said he felt fine after the hit.

"Well I got smacked in the jaw pretty good there," he said. "I wasn't concussed or anything like that. I felt completely clear. I was just trying to feel my jaw, I was like 'aw man, it's stuck.' I think I was laying on the ground for a second just trying to feel my jaw and I think Walt [Anderson, the referee] thought maybe I was a little injured or something like that. I told him I was good, I was good and he said you got to come off."

Wilson added at the time: "I think Walt did a great job, first of all. He made the smartest decision. I was fine though. A hundred percent fine. And then I finally went over through the whole concussion stuff. We went through every question you can imagine. I answered even some more for them just so they knew I was good and then went back in there."

Despite Wilson's comments on the matter, the NFL and NFLPA found the concussion protocol was not properly followed in his case.

After the investigation and fine, the league added that it will update the protocol to clearly define how to handle players suspected of a concussion in the future.

"As determined by the NFL and NFLPA, an immediate update will be made to the protocol instructing officials, teammates, and coaching staff to take players directly to a member of the medical team for a concussion assessment," the statement read. "The NFL and the NFLPA will continue to look at potential modifications to the protocols in an effort to keep players safe."


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