The NFL and the NFL Players Association have finished their joint review into New England Patriots wide receiver DeVante Parker getting removed from the Week 14 contest against the Arizona Cardinals. According to a statement released on Friday, no violation of the league’s concussion protocol was found in the process.
The review was initiated given the unusual circumstances surrounding Parker leaving the Patriots’ 27-13 win. He was visibly shaken up after a 10-yard reception in the first quarter, but the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant appeared not to immediately stop play.
Even with the wideout struggling to hold his stance while lining up for the following snap, and with teammate Nelson Agholor frantically trying to get the officials’ attention, it seemingly took a Cardinals challenge of the previous play to stop the next one. However, the review found that the next play would not have taken place anyway.
The documents and interviews established that one of the spotters was engaged with the Patriots medical staff regarding a prior injury when the play occurred. The other certified athletic trainer spotter observed the play as it occurred, heard the broadcasters’ commentary in real time, and immediately informed his colleague of the need to review the play for a potential head injury.
During the approximately 20 seconds that elapsed before the play was stopped, both spotters requested the replay, reviewed that game video to confirm the player exhibited post-injury behavior, and concluded a mandatory evaluation was necessary. The spotters were in the process of calling a Medical Timeout when play was stopped due to the Cardinals throwing a challenge flag. The spotters then advises the Patriots medical staff that the player required a concussion evaluation pursuant to the Protocol.
The club’s medical staff removed the player from the field and evaluated him, together with the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant. As required under the Protocol, the spotters’ booth provided injury video to the sideline medical personnel, who diagnosed the player with a concussion. The parties are satisfied that the player would not have participated in another play even if the Cardinals had not challenged the play.
Parker eventually left the field during the timeout and headed into the blue medical tent. He was initially deemed questionable to return to the contest with a head injury, but later departed for the locker room. He was officially ruled out for the rest of the game midway through the second quarter.
As for Nelson Agholor, he too was mentioned in the statement released on Friday:
[T]he parties commend Mr. Parker’s teammate Nelson Agholor, among others, for signaling to game officials to stop the play so Mr. Parker could be evaluated. The ability of various individuals to trigger a concussion evaluation is a critical component of the Concussion Protocol.
Parker, meanwhile, has remained in concussion protocol ever since that game in Arizona. The 29-year-old missed last week’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders and has also already been ruled out for the upcoming game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Christmas Eve.