Concussions have been one of the top priorities for the NFL over the last few seasons. Lawsuits and permanent injuries to former players, and a bounty system in New Orleans has made head injuries a hot button topic.
There were a handful of concussions in the NFL in week 10 including three to starting quarterbacks. Michael Vick, Alex Smith and Jay Cutler sustained head injuries that forced them to leave their games.
Vick left his game immediately, but Smith and Cutler took snaps after suffering their initial blows to the head. Smith look a clean hit from Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. The 49ers quarterback stayed in and went 5-for-5 for 56 yards including a touchdown pass. Eventually Smith left the game and was spelled by Colin Kaepernick. Even though Smith played well the 49ers didn't properly handle the situation by keeping him in the game. If he was taken out right away the concussion he suffered might have not been as serious.
It looks like the Bears failed to give Cutler an appropriate concussion test when he took a dirty head shot from Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins. Cutler came back in the game but didn't return for the second half. Dobbins made some interesting remarks that might make his inevitable fine even steeper. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune talked to the linebacker after the game:
“It was good that he was out,” Dobbins said. “You always want to take the quarterback out of the game. I hit him in his chest. I did not hit him in his head. Nowhere near.”
Dobbins added that he doesn't think he will be fined even though he clearly hit Cutler in the head very late. In the wake of the Saints bounty scandal, the NFL can't be thrilled with Dobbins saying you always want to take the quarterback out of the game.
In a very uncomfortable week for the NFL on the concussion front, the question now is should the league give harsher punishments. The league might want to heavily fine not just players like Dobbins, but teams that don't follow concussion protocool. Roger Goodell might want to address this issue instead of foolishly trying to give a franchise to London.
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