On Sunday we saw many high profile concussions around the NFL including Michael Vick, Jay Cutler, Alex Smith and Fred Jackson. On Monday night, two players — Chiefs receiver Johnny Baldwin and Steelers safety Ryan Clark — appeared to be knocked unconscious on two different plays before leaving to be evaluated for consussions.
Following the flurry of head injuries, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has once again began to call for concussion specialists to grace the NFL sidelines.
NFLPA sources said the union wants the league to accept responsibility for creating a disciplined, prompt and safe environment for players who are injured during the course of a game. They said the union wants concussion specialists, paid not by the teams but by the league, to assume the duties of caring for players, in accordance with normal employer workplace oversight.
In last year’s collective bargaining negotiations, the union gained access to player medical information and the ability to conduct its own reviews of how teams evaluate and treat all injuries, including head and neck trauma.
Having trained professionals on the sideline to watch after the players would be in the best interest of everyone. Often times, team doctors can rush players back onto the field with a separate agenda.
Taking the decision out of team doctors hands and placing it into the hands of unbiased professionals hired from the league will go a long way for player safety.