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Case Keenum concussion review could prompt changes to NFL protocol

Case Keenum suffered a concussion during last Sunday’s game against the Ravens (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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The NFL has completed its review of the Case Keenum incident and will not assign specific blame to any single party for the failure to remove the St. Louis Rams quarterback from a game in Baltimore after Keenum suffered a concussion, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.

The Rams will not be penalized and no individuals will be reprimanded or otherwise disciplined, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the league was not officially commenting on the case.

[No penalty for Rams in Keenum concussion case]

The league will consider future changes to its system for identifying players with concussion symptoms during a game based on the case and will contemplate the possibility of disciplining teams for subsequent violations of the protocols, the person said.

“It was a learning experience,” the person said. “In that sense, the review will continue. We’ll see if we should tweak the system going forward and make sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do.”

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The person called it “a perfect storm of things going wrong where it [Keenum’s concussion] got missed.”

Keenum struggled to get to his feet after a hit late in the Rams’ loss to the Ravens last Sunday. He remained in the game and was diagnosed later with a concussion.

According to the league’s review, the Rams trainer went on the field to examine Keenum but was sent off the field by the game officials, who were not immediately aware of Keenum’s concussion symptoms. The Rams’ coaches did not notice Keenum struggle to get to his feet, aided by one of his offensive linemen.

The independent medical spotter in the press box, who is empowered to have the game halted through a medical timeout, noticed Keenum struggling but saw the Rams’ trainer on the field to examine the quarterback. The spotter is instructed, under the current system, not to take further action if a team’s medical staff is taking steps to examine the player, according to the person with knowledge of the league’s review.

The NFL Players Association also is investigating the episode.

The NFL and NFLPA conducted a conference call last week with the head athletic trainers from the 32 teams to reinforce proper compliance with the concussion policies.