By Ken Reed
The entire nation saw it.
The New England Patriots’ Patrick Chung took a vicious blow to the head while attempting to tackle the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jay Ajayi.
Chung was motionless on the ground as everyone else got up from the pile. Ajayi seemed to be signaling to the Patriots’ sideline that Chung was out cold.
Chung was eventually evaluated on the Patriots’ sideline but then returned to the field and continued playing. Late in the fourth quarter, Chung stayed down again. At that point, he was ruled out with a concussion.
It’s hard to believe Chung was allowed to come back in the game after the first shot appeared to briefly knock him out. He could’ve been in serious danger of suffering from Second Impact Syndrome, a condition in which the brain swells, shutting down the brain stem and resulting in respiratory failure. Second Impact Syndrome can occur when a player who already has a concussion suffers additional brain trauma shortly after the concussion occurs.
How an independent NFL medical spotter didn’t see enough after the first hit to keep Chung out of the game is beyond me.
The NFL concussion protocol is as messed up as the league’s “catch or no catch” rule.
The thing is, the concussion protocol is a lot more important.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.