Medical examination tents will be a fixture on NFL sidelines starting in 2017, providing players the opportunity to have higher quality and quicker medical examinations within a private setting.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the change at the Annual League Meeting in May.
"It's an opportunity for us to have a better examination because it will ensure privacy for a short period of time, so doctors can go ahead and make the appropriate diagnosis," Goodell said.
The NFL's new Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allen Sills, also briefed owners on the medical exam tents and other health and safety initiatives during their spring meeting.
"We believe that the sideline medical tent will improve care for our players by increasing privacy and providing the player and the physician with a distraction-free environment to conduct a variety of medical evaluations," Sills said.
The NFL conducted summer medical tent training training sessions in New York for team physicians, athletic trainers, sideline unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and booth ATC spotters. The training included sessions on how the tent should be used and incorporated into the updated concussion protocol. All 32 teams also received training videos.
"The medical tent is not meant to replace the locker room evaluation, but rather to provide a more private and structured place to do examinations of a variety of injuries that are currently done on the sidelines," Sills said. "We will ask that all sideline concussion exams be done in the tent, but if the initial screening suggests a concussion, then the more extensive concussion evaluation will be done in the locker room just as we have previously done."
The tents will start appearing on sidelines during 2017 preseason games this season, including the Hall of Fame game.