Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell said on Monday that star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has “cleared” concussion tests, and while he remains in the protocol, Campbell expects to have St. Brown available this week for Sunday’s contest against the Miami Dolphins.
“He cleared, but he’s in protocol just to go through the process of it,” Campbell said. “But I would anticipate us having him this week.”
St. Brown suffered the injury in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys after taking a big shot to the head. St. Brown stayed on the ground, appeared to stumble trying to get up, and shook his head, clearly dealing with a head injury. Shortly after, an on-field official escorted him off the field to be looked at by doctors on the sideline.
“It’s my understanding that he looked a little disoriented certainly, and then go to the tent and you’re going to go through the whole process of clearing him,” Campbell explained. “And in the meantime, they look at the video. So when they see the video, plus what they saw there, it’s automatically you’re out now.”
What Campbell is referring to is the NFL’s new concussion protocol, which was implemented after Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was permitted to enter the game despite showing clear physical instability, only to suffer a severe concussion that required a hospital trip a few days later during a Dolphins “Thursday Night Football” game.
Under the new protocol, a player that exhibits any signs of ataxia—balance or stability issues—is not permitted to return, as decided by a team physician, the on-site Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant (UNC), or a booth UNC who consults video of the injury in question.
Here’s the new NFL-NFLPA concussion game day checklist, which adds ataxia to loss of consciousness, confusion and amnesia as “no-go” symptoms for return to play, replacing gross motor instability.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 8, 2022
Full updated protocols: https://t.co/YZkOscGT1M pic.twitter.com/p31u3dnJR7
In other words, even if St. Brown “passed” concussion tests, if video review determines he exhibited signs of ataxia, he would not be permitted to return.
And that’s exactly what happened, according to Campbell:
“He had cleared up. He had passed everything,” Campbell said about St. Brown while the Lions wide receiver was in the medical tent on the field.
But when the video consultants determined St. Brown had shown signs of ataxia, that meant he could not return.
The good news here is that St. Brown is apparently doing well and is on track to play next week, assuming he suffers no setbacks—which is always a possibility with concussions, as they often come with delayed symptoms.