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NFL new concussion protocol Dan Leberfeld

NFL team medical personnel will use this season a new standardized sideline concussion assessment protocol, the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee announced today.  The announcement was made in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine by DR. MARGOT PUTUKIAN, member of NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee and chair of the Return-to-Play Subcommittee.

Developed by the subcommittee in response to a team medical staff survey conducted last season, the new protocol combines a symptom checklist, a limited neurologic examination including a cognitive evaluation, and a balance assessment.  It uses as a foundation many components of the sideline tool developed by the Concussion in Sport group that most recently met in Zurich in 2008.  It was developed by the NFL Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, with input from the NFLPA and its medical advisors, NFL team physicians, athletic trainers and their professional societies, and other medical experts. 

“This tool provides a standardized format for evaluating head injury that medical staff can use on the sideline,” said Dr. Putukian, who also is head team physician for Princeton University, a past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the physician representative of NCAA and the American College of Sports Medicine. “It incorporates the most important aspects of a focused exam, so that injury is identified, and athletes with concussion and more serious head and spine injury can be removed from play.”