The NFL Thursday hit the Seahawks with a $100,000 fine for their failure to properly apply the concussion protocol on a hit to the jaw of QB Russell Wilson during a Nov. 9 win over the Arizona Cardinals. A joint NFL-NFLPA review also determined that Seattle’s coaching and medical staffs will be required to attend remedial training regarding the protocol.
“The results of the joint review determined that the protocol was triggered when Mr. Wilson was directed to the sideline for an evaluation after the referee, Walt Anderson, concluded that a medical examination was warranted,” an NFL statement said. “Nonetheless, the required evaluation was not conducted and Mr. Wilson was permitted to return to the game without an evaluation.”
At his weekly press briefing at team headquarters, Wilson said he believed the procedure was done properly.
“I was just told about (the fine),” he said. “I guess that is what they decided to do. I thought everything was done in the right way. There was a lot of confusion. I didn’t really understand why I was coming out of the game anyway. I was completely clear. My jaw was a little messed up but other than that, that is what they decided.”
In the week after the game, Wilson disclosed that doctors said he narrowly averted a broken jaw. He was on a liquid diet for several days and him to go to a liquid diet, and barely avoided having his jaw wired shut.
The NFL release said that, once Wilson was ordered off the field, he can’t return without medical permission, and so “was in violation of the Concussion Protocol. Subsequently the team medical staff did examine the player and cleared him per the protocol.
“As determined by the NFL and NFLPA, an immediate update will be made to the protocol instructing officials, teammates, and coaching staff to take players directly to a member of the medical team for a concussion assessment. The NFL and the NFLPA will continue to look at potential modifications to the protocols in an effort to keep players safe.”
The hit to Wilson occurred in the third quarter when he was blasted by Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby. Wilson was seen rubbing his jaw, then was ordered off. TV cameras showed him entering the sideline medical tent for a few seconds and talking with no medical personnel before exiting and returning to play.
“Well, I got smacked in the jaw pretty good there,” Wilson said after the game. “I wasn’t concussed or anything like that. I felt completely clear. I was just trying to feel my jaw. I was like, ‘Aw man, it’s stuck.’ I think I was laying on the ground for a second, just trying to feel my jaw and I think Walt thought maybe I was a little injured. I told him I was good, I was good and he said you got to come off.
“I think Walt did a great job. He made the smartest decision. I was fine, though. A hundred percent fine. Then I finally went over through the whole concussion stuff. We went through every question you can imagine. I answered even some more for them just so they knew I was good and then went back in there.”