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We’re only in the third week of the season for the Colts and they’ve had four players enter the concussion protocol.

In 2017, the NFL created a full-time position dedicated to advancing the health and safety of players. Dr. Allen Sills became the first Chief Medical Officer of the league and has held that position since. He joined Query & Company on Wednesday to explain the process of the concussion protocol.

Concussion Protocol

Since 2018, the NFL has made major improvements in identifying players that may or may not have a concussion.


“We basically have a two-tiered exam system. We have what we call a sideline assessment, which is a quicker screen that looks for a few objective signs, asks certain questions to a player, and reviews the details of the injury. Even that sideline assessment includes a mandatory review of the video. So, the team physician and the independent neuro specialist, look at the video and mechanism of the injury. Then they confer together to discuss what they found, what they heard in the exam, and what they saw on the video and reach a consensus diagnosis. This is never one person that makes the diagnosis, it’s a team effort among these medicals professionals to make that diagnosis. Then in the sideline examination, if anything is abnormal or unclear, the athlete can go to the locker room for a more extensive examination. Two different examinations depending on the initial screening result.” Dr. Allen Sills explained.

Clearing Protocol

“The players undergo a SCAT examine (sports concussed assessment tool), it’s a standardized battery of tests used around the world as a screening tool for types of issues affected by concussions. The athlete will take that and have that document as a baseline on an uninjured state. The goal is if you get injured, then you compare their scores back to that exam. You also have a neuropsychological battery of testing. Those are more extensive tests looking at memory, processing speed, and usually done in combination of pencil and pencil testing and some that is done by a computerized process. Players typically get that every other year. In both cases, after their injured, you go back and repeat those same two tests and compare them to the baseline scores as part of that process to decide if they are recovered. You have to remember along with that, you’re going to progressively exert the athlete and also be monitoring for new symptoms. All of that goes into the decision making about when they are ready to return.” Dr. Allen Sills stated.

Other topics that were discussed during the conversation were:

  • Grass vs Turf impacting concussions and other injuries
  • Who can ask a medical professional to look at a player

To listen to Jake Query and Jimmy Cook’s conversation with Dr. Allen Sills, download the podcast containing the conversation below! You can always listen to the Query & Company from 12pm-3pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan. You can also watch and interact with the show by going to the 107.5 The Fan YouTube Channel.

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