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Rival Report 7/26: Fines, loss of draft picks instituted to enforce NFL's concussion protocol

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The NFL and the NFLPA have announced an agreement that will place a much heavier price to be paid if teams fail to use proper concussion protocol. Teams now face hefty fines and possibly even the loss of draft picks if there is a failure to properly employ the league's concussion protocols.

Previously there were no fines at all set for when teams violated the concussion protocol systems. Now, the league can fine teams up to $150,000 for the first time they violate the protocols, and a minimum of $100,000 for any other violations committed after the first one. Beyond that, in especially egregious situations where teams are believed to have ignored the protocols for competitive reasons the team could even be docked draft picks.

This was a needed step to ensure that teams actually used the concussion protocols appropriately. Relying on teams to do the right thing by using the honest system is not nearly as useful as forcing them to by using monetary fines for lack of doing so.

One of the worst moments of last year's season is a great example of what teams would now be punished for. The St. Louis Rams left QB Case Keenum in the game after he took a vicious hit where everybody watching was able to tell that he needed to come out of the game afterwards. The trainer even went on the field to check out Keenum, but still left him in the game.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, a member of the competition committee no less, and his training staff left Keenum in the game when Keenum couldn't even stand back up after the hit. It was a completely ridiculous moment, especially when you consider the NFL was in the process of being sued for 100's of millions of dollars at the time by former players who experienced brain trauma.

These new rules that are being put in place should help situations like that, because teams will not be eager to face their owners after they caused him to have to pay an easily avoidable $100k fine. Teams and the league will also now each have their own representative there specifically to implement the concussion protocols when needed as well.

The NFL and the NFLPA also announced that they will study the data annually to insure that they keep discussing rule changes and other ways to continue to combat concussions in the sport. They also have formed a new committee together to review the playing surfaces of each field to help prevent injuries.

I guess the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears better start fixing up their fields soon, both Heinz Field and Soldier Field are notorious for their terrible playing surfaces in the winter. The players actually specifically have spoken up about much preferring real grass to the synthetic material grasses because they say the synthetic grass is too hard.

N.F.L. Introduces New Rules to Back Its Concussion Protocol - The New York Times
After calls for enhanced measures to protect players from head injuries, the league announced new penalties for teams that fail to follow protocol.

NFL teams now face fines, loss of draft picks if they violate concussion protocol - ESPN
The NFL and NFL Players Association on Monday jointly announced new guidelines designed to probe and punish teams that violate the league's concussion protocol.

NFL, players union announce new game-day concussion protocol - USA TODAY
The NFL and the players have agreed on a new game-day concussion protocol that includes a scale of penalties for clubs that violate the procedure

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