New NFL Concussion Rules Debut This Week

Amnesia, poor balance will keep players sidelined for the day
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2009 8:23 AM CST
New NFL Concussion Rules Debut This Week
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gives a thumbs-up as he is taken off the field after sustaining a concussion last year.   (AP Photo)

The NFL today introduced its new rules governing concussions, expected to result in fewer injured players returning to the field when their symptoms subside. Players can be cleared to go back in the game only by independent experts, and if a player exhibits certain symptoms—amnesia, balance issues, or an abnormal neurological evaluation—he can't return to the field that day. But if the symptoms are dizziness or headache, as long as they're not "persistent," they can play.

One team doctor tells the New York Times the new policy will be extremely cautious: “I think there may be more players held out than before. I think the effect is going to be a positive one.” The player remains the wild card, a fact Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledges. “A critical element of managing concussions is candid reporting by players.” (Read more Roger Goodell stories.)

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