Late in Sunday's terrible game between the St. Louis Rams and the Baltimore Ravens, Rams quarterback Case Keenum took a sack and was seemingly woozy afterward after hitting his head on the ground. At a glance, it appeared he may be suffering symptoms of a concussion. At the very least, he should have been evaluated.
Instead, the people tasked with looking after Keenum's health -- Rams coaches and training staff, and an NFL injury spotter in the booth with the authority to contact officials on the field and call a medical timeout -- let him stay in the game. The Rams even sent their head trainer, Reggie Scott, onto the field to talk with Keenum after the hit. Keenum took another sack two plays later and fumbled the ball away to the Ravens, who then kicked a game-winning field goal.
Keenum was diagnosed with a concussion after the game. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher broke down the play for reporters and did not mention Keenum's head at all, and no one asked.
The failure of anyone to pull Keenum from the game illustrated just how poorly the NFL still treats head injuries. The injury spotter was added this year in large part because Julian Edelman was allowed to play with concussion symptoms during last season's Super Bowl, yet that person had the opportunity to act on what a lot of fans at home suspected was a head injury and did nothing.
Those who play while concussed make themselves more susceptible to further concussions and risk sustaining permanent brain damage or developing a neurological disease. Keenum should not have been subjected to that risk. The fact that he continued to play is especially mind-boggling because the Rams had a field-tested and ready Nick Foles on the bench (they even had him up and throwing after Keenum went down). Not only did the Rams endanger their own player, leaving Keenum in the game was stupid from a football standpoint.
Several people at Sunday's game were either negligent or incompetent, and the league will review why Keenum wasn't tested for a concussion. Either way, something has to change.
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