SBD/May 17, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Concussion Protocol Questioned Again After Gisele's Disclosure About Brady

Brady was not listed on an injury report with a concussion last season
Gisele Bundchen this morning said her husband, Patriots QB Tom Brady, "had a concussion last year" despite the fact Brady did not enter the NFL's concussion protocol at any point during the season. Bundchen appeared on "CBS This Morning" and said Brady has concussions "pretty much" every year, but added, "We don't talk about it." Bundchen: "I don't really think it's a healthy thing for anybody to go through that kind of aggression all the time. That cannot be healthy for you, and I'm planning on having him be healthy and do a lot of fun things when we're like 100" ("CBS This Morning," 5/17). In Boston, Christina Prignano notes Brady "was not listed with a concussion on any of the Patriots’ injury reports last season." The NFL has "made strides in recent years in improving its concussion protocols, placing unaffiliated neurological consultants on each sideline during games and having additional concussion spotters in the replay booth who have the power to stop the game and order a player be tested for a concussion." However, Bundchen’s claims "highlight the weakness of the policy -- that it can’t detect the minor concussions that can be just as dangerous for a player’s long-term health." The policy also "requires cooperation from players to self-report concussions, and players often try to conceal their symptoms so as not to miss any game time" (BOSTONGLOBE.com, 5/17). In K.C., Pete Grathoff notes while the NFL last year announced a $100M plan to "develop new technology and increase research into the effects of head injuries, the league was criticized frequently for its handling of players." In the very first game of the '16 season, Panthers QB Cam Newton "took repeated shots to the head" from Broncos players (KANSASCITY.com, 5/17).

TOPIC WON'T GO AWAY ANYTIME SOON: YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee writes Brady, the NFL's "marquee player," suffering an undiagnosed concussion is "fairly noteworthy" given the league has "increased emphasis on concussion safety" in recent years (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/17). ESPN's Mike Golic noted there are "going to be questions asked and comments expected" from Brady. Golic: "When you're talking about the best player in the game and we're talking about head injuries -- which becomes so prominent in sports -- that's going to be brought up again and talked about." ESPN's Mike Greenberg asked, “Is this something that Brady sensed he had and he hid it? Like his wife knew about it, but he didn’t tell anybody? So, the team didn’t have any reason to be concerned about it. Is it something that the team was aware of and they didn’t publicly (announce it)? One way or another, some comment is going to be required” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 5/17).

COULD PATS BE IN TROUBLE?
In N.Y., Justin Terranova notes the Patriots could "face discipline for not reporting the injury." Brady only appeared on the Patriots injury report for "knee and thigh issues toward the end of the regular season." Teams found to be "withholding information on the injury report can be punished by the league, and it could be considered particularly troubling given the injury in question ... is a brain injury" (NYPOST.com, 5/17). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio writes while the "knee-jerk reaction will be to claim that the Patriots lied on the injury report, the truth very well may be that the team didn’t know and the doctors didn’t know and the athletic trainers didn’t know -- and that Brady successfully hid the symptoms to allow himself to continue to play" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 5/17). Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay writes on Twitter, "That reaction to Gisele's Brady concussion reveal is 'ooh Pats may be fined' not 'Ugh Brady has repeated concussions' says it all about NFL" (TWITTER.com, 5/17).
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