NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on Nov. 23 that the NFL would investigate why the St. Louis Rams never tested quarterback Case Keenum for a concussion during their 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11.
Rapoport provided the NFL's full statement on the matter:
On Sunday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported, "Rams will not be penalized for mishandling concussion protocols last week in regards to [Keenum], per sources."
On the Rams' final drive of the game, Ravens defensive end Timmy Jernigan sacked Keenum, and the quarterback's head hit the turf. A visibly woozy Keenum attempted to pick himself back up but needed the help of a teammate to get on his feet again. (The play occurs at the 2:28 mark of the video below.)
Keenum remained in the game and didn't miss a snap.
On Nov. 23, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher addressed the situation, per Around the NFL. "I didn't see anything from my vantage point on the sideline," said Fisher. He confirmed the Rams athletic trainer talked to Keenum, "who said he was OK," according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com.
According to the league's concussion protocol, athletic trainers are supposed to serve as "spotters" and look for any players exhibiting signs of a potential concussion. If a trainer spots an injury, they have the ability to stop a game in order for a player to receive proper medical assistance.
Seven potential signs of a concussion are also included in the protocol:
- Any loss of consciousness
- Slow to get up following a hit to the head
- Motor coordination/balance problems
- Blank or vacant look
- Clutching of head after contact
- Visible facial injury in combination with any of the above
At the very least, Keenum demonstrated coordination problems and was slow to get up, two of the first three signs on the list.
SB Nation's Turf Show Times thought the situation was made worse by the fact that Fisher didn't have to answer any questions about Keenum's possible concussion after the game:
In addition to the "spotters," NFL teams are required to have independent neurological consultants on the sidelines, as well as the regular members of the training staff. The consultant is also supposed to monitor the game and watch for possible neurological injuries.
Considering how many eyes were on the field, allowing Keenum to stay in the game was a failure from a number of different parties for St. Louis.