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NFL will punish teams that fail to follow concussion protocol

The NFL has announced it will investigate and punish teams who fail to follow the league’s concussion protocol.
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The NFL and NFLPA announced Monday a new agreement to enforce the league’s concussion protocol by punishing teams that violate the process.

The NFL’s current concussion protocol is a multi-step system from spotting a head injury during a game, administering tests and monitoring recovery during the week. Players who have sustained a concussion and enter the protocol are not allowed to return to the field until they are cleared by an independent doctor. 

Multiple NFL officials said in the off-season the league would review its concussion protocol process. The protocol was scrutinized late last season after the Rams were heavily criticized for leaving quarterback Case Keenum in a game after he had sustained a head injury. The Rams were not punished for the incident. 

• Jeff Fisher’s handling of Case Keenum simply not good enough

Under the new agreement, if a team is found to have violated the protocol process, they can be assessed up to a $150,000 fine for the first offense. Subsequent violations will result in a $100,000 fine at minimum. If the commissioner determines a team violated the protocol for a competitive advantage, the team could be required to forfeit a draft pick in addition to fines.