NFL players union urges quick changes to concussion protocol

Category : Health

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. concussion / kənˈkʌʃ ən / (n.) – an injury caused by a fall or hard hit, usually on the head

    During the ice skating show, one of the performers slipped and suffered a concussion.

  2. protocol / ˈproʊ təˌkɔl / (n.) – a set of rules on the correct behavior and procedures to be followed in formal situations

    Everyone in the military has to strictly follow the protocols.

  3. wobbly / ˈwɒb li / (adj.) – shaky or unsteady

    The baby’s steps are still wobbly.

  4. gait / geɪt / (n.) – a certain way of walking

    Wearing high heels made her gait a bit awkward.

  5. flex / flɛks / (v.) – to bend, move, or stretch a body part

    He flexed his arms while carrying weights.


Read the text below.

The NFL Players Association urged the league to implement changes to its concussion protocol to protect players in time for the games on Oct. 23.

The players’ union wants to strengthen the protocol to avoid a repeat of what happened to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in Week 3 against Buffalo. Tagovailoa was unstable when he walked off the field following a hit and was evaluated for a concussion, but he quickly returned to the game and the Dolphins said a back injury had caused his wobbly gait.

Tagovailoa subsequently suffered a concussion four days later at Cincinnati and is out indefinitely.

“Our union has agreed to change the concussion protocols to protect players from returning to play in the case of any similar incident to what we saw on Sept. 25,” the union said in a statement. “We would like these changes to go into effect before this weekend’s games to immediately protect the players and hope the NFL accepts the change before then as well.”

In its own statement, the league said it was working on updates to the protocol but did not commit to implementing them before the Oct. 23 games.

“As we have discussed with the NFLPA, we agree that changes to the joint NFL-NFLPA protocols are necessary to further enhance player safety. We have already spoken to members of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee and the leadership of the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultants and Independent Certified Athletic Trainers who serve as spotters to discuss these likely changes,” the NFL said.

The handling of Tagovailoa’s injuries and the NFL’s approach to player safety were widely criticized after his injury during the nationally televised game at Cincinnati on Sept. 29, when his head was slammed violently against the turf and his fingers flexed awkwardly in what is known as the “fencing response” to neurological trauma.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Why do you think the league did not commit to implementing the changes immediately? Discuss.
  • Do you think the games should be temporarily suspended until the new protocols are implemented? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Concussions and other injuries are usual in contact sports, such as football, soccer, and basketball. Do you think these contact sports should be completely banned given the risks of concussions and injuries? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Tagovailoa is out indefinitely after suffering from concussions. Do you think he would still want to go back to playing football after recovery? Do you think his family would support him if he wanted to play again? Why or why not? Discuss.
Category : Health