In keeping with the NFL’s No. 1 priority — the health and safety of the players — the Competition Committee is exploring the concept of a medical timeout.
After reviewing video of more than 40,000 plays, we’ve identified a handful of occasions where players who may have been injured remained on the field, often because they were in the midst of two-minute or no-huddle offenses.
We want to ensure that players receive the proper care during every game, and we don’t want the clock to dictate whether that care is provided. At each game, several people are responsible for identifying players on the field who may need medical attention: the teams’ medical staffs, the independent certified athletic trainers (ATC spotters) in the stands and an independent neurologist on the sidelines.
We’re considering expanding the authority of the independent neurologist to activate a medical timeout if he or she believes it is warranted.
The Competition Committee has several factors to consider before deciding whether to make medical timeouts part of the game. They include the processes and protocols that would initiate a medical timeout, the mechanics of calling one and the procedures associated with it. The NFL Players Association will collect input from its members and its medical advisers, and coaches, general managers and owners will be heard from as well. Another consideration is ensuring that the competitive balance of the game isn’t disrupted.
This is all part of the process the Competition Committee goes through in determining how best to advance player health and safety and protect players from unnecessary risk.