NFL Referee Removes Quarterback From Game To Show Importance Of Player Safety In The NFL

    Late in the September 15th matchup between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, Bills' QB Tyrod Taylor was tackled and appeared to sustain significant impact to his head. The referee immediately ordered Taylor to the sidelines to undergo concussion protocol before continuing to play. Although this safety precaution taken by the referee seems trivial, it signifies a shift in the medical treatment of valuable NFL players and their safety.

    There have been several instances in which players have remained in the game even after sustaining significant blows to the head

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    Earlier in the 2016 NFL season, MVP QB Cam Newton was hit multiple times in the head without coming out of the game. The NFL and Newton's team, the Carolina Panthers, faced backlash for failing to evaluate Newton using the NFL's concussion protocol before allowing him to continue playing. Critics speculated that less significant players than Newton would have been taken out of the game. Since Newton is such an exciting, dynamic player, however, the League and the Panthers elected to waive the required safety precautions.

    Although the NFL puts effort into making the game safer, many still believe that player safety takes a backseat to creating exciting moments of games which involve the best players. Former High School Quarterback Ezra Shoen agrees that the problem of head injuries in the NFL is a "very serious issue" and that the League needs to prioritize player safety above all.

    Studies show that current NFL players' head injuries could lead to serious medical conditions later in life

    A study by the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute reveals that 96% of former NFL players have brain trauma in the form of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). The symptoms of CTE include memory loss, confusion, aggression, depression, and progressive dementia.

    Due to the severe effects that head impacts can have on players, the NFL must take action to limit the amount of concussions that occur. Furthermore, the referees must continue to remove players from games when they sustain blows to their head.

    During a game between the Rams and Ravens in 2015 NFL season, Rams QB Case Keenum was tackled during the game-winning drive with the score tied. Keenum's head slammed against the turf. The QB immediately grabbed his head and couldn't even stand up straight with assistance. After collecting himself for a few moments, Keenum continued playing without any medical consultation.

    We've seen many recent cases like those of Keenum and Cam Newton where a player is left in the game despite needing a concussion consultation. The action taken by the referee of pulling Tyrod Taylor from a crucial moment of the game to get tested for a concussion gives us hope that the NFL realizes the significant impact of head injuries and is prepared to make a difference.

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