NFL says Panthers properly followed concussion protocol when sending Cam Newton back into Wild Card game after big hit

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  • The NFL has ruled that the Carolina Panthers did not violate the concussion protocol when Cam Newton re-entered a game just a few minutes after sustaining what looked like a jarring hit.
  • In a statement, the NFL said that the Panthers went through the necessary medical evaluations before returning Newton to the field, and that he was not showing symptoms of a concussion.
  • After the decision came down, the NFL’s chief medical officer called out “armchair doctors at home” who criticised the Panthers initial handling of the situation.

The NFL has concluded that the Carolina Panthers acted in accordance with the league’s concussion protocol in their treatment of quarterback Cam Newton in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

In the fourth quarter of the Panthers playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, Newton took a hard hit that left him dazed on the ground.

Newton was treated on the sidelines momentarily, but was back on the field for the Panthers next drive. At the time, Newton claimed that he was poked in the eye on the play, and was not suffering from any symptoms of a concussion.

“I know it was precautionary things for a concussion, but it wasn’t a hit to the head it was my eye,” Newton said. “My helmet had came down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player’s stomach I believe. I thought somebody stuck their finger in my eye, but I’ve got my visor, so that couldn’t happen.”

The NFL launched an investigation into Newton’s treatment, but eventually found that the Panthers had followed the necessary precautions before sending their quarterback back into the game.

“Mr. Newton was properly evaluated for a concussion in the sideline medical tent and did not sustain a concussion,” the NFL said in a statement. The statement further explained that Newton’s labored walking as he got off the field was due to a knee injury he had sustained earlier in the game.

Some representatives of the NFL offered a biting critique of those who were quick to question the Panthers decision to allow Newton back into the game.

“This points out something important,” said NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills. “That armchair doctors at home cannot make a concussion diagnosis on video alone. … I think this shows how irresponsible people can be in offering an opinion without the facts.”

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