Faced with increased media scrutiny, Congressional involvement, and whatever that business was with the Steelers, Roger Goodell appears to be through with playing softball on head injuries. The Commish's office has released a memo detailing the league's new, stricter guidelines for dealing with concussed players:
The new policy states, in part: ''Once removed for the duration of a practice or game, the player should not be considered for return-to-football activities until he is fully asymptotic, both at rest and after exertion, has a normal neurological examination, normal neuropsychological testing, and has been cleared to return by both his team physician(s) and the independent neurological consultant.''
Teams were told this month they have to find an outside neurologist who can be consulted on concussions, and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said this week the league is ''very close'' to having all of those independent doctors approved and in place.
Where before a player would have been allowed to continue playing as long as he retained consciousness following the hit, he'll now have to sit out the game if he displays any memory loss, disorientation, or other key symptoms. The new standards are set for immediate implementation.