Want a poster boy for revamping the NFL's concussion policy? Austin Collie is it.
Collie took this terrifying hit late in the second quarter against the Jaguars, and was motionless in the moments immediately after it. Collie stayed down for a few minutes, but got up and left the field under his own power, which is a good sign.
But the hit Collie took was completely legal. And it likely produced his third concussion in his last three games. And that's where the problems start.
The Jaguars defender that makes the hit collides with Collie's helmet with his chest, and there's definitely no intent to injure on the play. This is just what happens, occasionally, when big, strong human beings are tasked with tackling each other. And the NFL can't do much to outlaw hits like these, or prevent players like Collie from sustaining concussions, without changing its rules radically.
But there's plenty the league can do to prevent players like Collie from getting concussed again. Collie took one enormous hit this year, returned just two weeks after that play ... and got concussed again. And now he's come back again and gotten hurt again. Is that safe? Maybe, maybe not. Is the repeated head trauma the league's players take safe? Maybe, maybe not.
And if the NFL wants to keep dwelling in the gray area of maybes, it may be that we ultimately learn that the league's approach to concussion is unsafe in the most tragic of manners. No one wants that, least of all Austin Collie. Let's hope the league prioritizes the safety of its players above all before it is too late to save a life.