NFL Adds Concussion Rules

Teams must now keep independent neurologists on hand
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2009 6:45 AM CST
Updated Nov 23, 2009 7:48 AM CST
Philadelphia Eagles' Brian Westbrook adjusts his cap as he watches NFL football practice at the team's workout facility, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009, in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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(Newser) – Facing heat from both players and Congress, the NFL is adopting new policies designed to protect players in the event of a concussion. Teams will soon be required to keep an impartial, independent neurologist on hand to treat players for concussions. Players won’t be allowed to return to the field until they’ve been cleared by both the team doctor and the neurologist, Fox reports.

Roger Goodell pushed hard for the new rules, after an embarrassing grilling in front of the House Judiciary Committee on the issue. “I don’t want to call it forced,” Chester Pitts, the Texans’ union rep, tells the New York Times. But “when you have Congress talking about the antitrust exemption and them calling them the tobacco industry, that’s pretty big.” The union and the league are both reviewing doctors to ensure they’re qualified, and impartial to the team they’re advising.