Who’s at fault for the Case Keenum debacle? #RESM560V

St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

As if it couldn’t get any worse for the National Football League and their reputation with concussions, last Sunday saw the league endure another setback in their defense against head trauma.

In last Sunday’s game between the St. Louis Rams and the Baltimore Ravens, St. Louis quarterback Case Keenum was sacked hard late in the 4th quarter with his head viciously hitting the turf. He immediately began to grab his head and as his Ram’s teammates attempted to help him up, Keenum was quick to drop back onto the turf, clearly shaken up from the hit. It was at this point that the NFL’s concussion protocol should have taken effect, instead Keenum never came out of the game.

Play that concussed Keenum (Vine provided by Troy Machir)

According to the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee, there are seven observable signs of a concussion: loss of consciousness, slow to get up after a hit to the head, motor coordination/balance problems, blank or vacant look, disorientation, clutching of head after contact, and visible facial injury in combination with any of the above.

Keenum clearly showed signs of an obvious concussion yet the ATC injury spotter, who’s sole job is to watch every play and look for players with potential injuries, did not stop the game to allow team doctors and medical staff to observe Keenum. While the head trainer for the Rams did go out to speak to Keenum, it was only because the officials were sorting out a penalty on the play, not because the game was officially stopped. So who in fact is to blame for this egregious error?

Keenum grabbing his head after taking a sack (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

A strong case can be made that everyone involved in that game is to blame. The ATC spotter failed to stop the game to get Keenum examined. The officials and referees didn’t call for an injury timeout to get Keenum off the field, and Rams head coach Jeff Fisher failed to pull the obviously concussed quarterback out of the game. The Rams knew Keenum had been shaken up on that play because they had Nick Foles warming up right after the hit on Keenum, yet still allowed him to play.

Regardless of who is to blame, somebody will be held accountable as this is just another black eye for a league trying to distance itself from its ugly, concussion-riddled past.

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