Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage took a terrifying hit and appeared to seize in the midst of a game against the San Francisco 49ers earlier this season. However, Savage was allowed to return to the game and, as a result of that upsetting decision, the NFL launched an investigation into the play.
On Friday, the league and the NFLPA released a joint statement and, while the Texans won’t be disciplined for the choice, the following timeline of events was outlined with recognition on both sides that Savage coming back into the game “did not reflect the expected outcome of the Protocol.”
The review showed that following a hard tackle, Mr. Savage was immediately removed from the game and evaluated for a concussion. The Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant (“UNC”) and team physician reviewed the initial broadcast video, saw the play and Mr. Savage’s response and followed the Protocol by performing a complete sideline concussion evaluation on Mr. Savage, which he passed. The slow-motion video, which focused more directly on the fencing posture, was not broadcast until after the doctors had begun the sideline evaluation and thus was not seen by the medical staff prior to the evaluation. The Texans medical staff continued to monitor Mr. Savage after the initial evaluation and shortly after his return to the game, identified symptoms that had not been present during the sideline evaluation and took him to the locker room for further evaluation.
The release outlines several proposed improvements to the concussion protocol, including the ability to “monitor the broadcast feeds of all games” and the addition of another Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant to all playoff games. The full release is certainly worth a read but, in the meantime, the Texans escape penalty and change is in the offing.