Inside The Bills

Concussion protocol the plan for Aaron

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2014 – 3:23 pm

Bills S Aaron Williams who left Sunday’s game late with concussion-like symptoms is going to be put through the league’s concussion protocol by the club.

That according to head coach Doug Marrone. For those who are unfamiliar with the concussion protocol it does not operate on a calendar like the NHL protocol. So there isn’t a timetable where for example, a player has to be symptom free for a week or some other time frame. Here are some details on how things work.

The initial treatment is rest, and the team doctors and athletic trainers begin monitoring to see when a player appears to have returned to baseline functioning. Do symptoms return when a player watches practice or when he watches film? Is there return of symptoms with physical activity?

Once symptoms have completely subsided, the player again performs more comprehensive neuropsychological tests interpreted by the team neuropsychologist. There are no pass-fail grades, only additional data for physicians to consider.

If the player is progressing, he would be become eligible for increased physical activity. The workouts would ramp up over a few days if no symptoms occur.

A player feeling normal one day after the game might pass cognitive testing Tuesday and begin a light exercise program, intensify their exercise routine Wednesday, participate in non-contact aspects of practice on Thursday and return to full practice Friday. But if a player has a history of concussions or isn’t progressing as quickly as planned, the process moves accordingly.

The medical team increases the exercise regimen to full speed as the player proves he can handle the escalation without incident. Some teams stage controlled contact drills featuring, for example, one lineman blocking another the way they would in an unpadded practice.

Once a team doctor signs off on a player’s return, the player is evaluated in person by an unaffiliated concussion expert physician approved by both the NFL and NFL Players Association. This unaffiliated expert also must sign off on the player’s health before he is allowed to return to play.


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