The results are in from a joint review by the NFL Players Association and the NFL, and the determination is that the Miami Dolphins did not “strictly follow” the NFL concussion protocol when Matt Moore sustained a hit by the Steelers Bud Dupree in the January 8th AFC Wild Card game.
Miami Dolphins Did not Follow NFL Concussion Protocol
Moore was popped in the jaw on the play, and Dupree was flagged for roughing the passer. Although Moore was bleeding from the mouth, which in itself should have triggered a further evaluation by the coaching staff, he reportedly did not show other signs of a concussion at any period after the hit.
The Miami quarterback downplayed the hit after the game. “I just got popped,” he said. “Just needed a second there, so I got checked out, felt fine. Was more my jaw than anything else.” He missed only one play before returning to the field.
Still, the event is concerning considering all the scrutiny the NFL and teams have been under for not reporting and downplaying the consequences of concussions. The league and the players association did say that “competitive issues” were not the reason Moore returned to the game so quickly.
What are the consequences for the Dolphins? They must, as a staff, undergo a full review of the concussion protocol, and “conduct additional education if necessary.” It may seem like a slap on the wrist, but the offense was minor, and the league did offer a warning as part of their findings: if the Dolphins should have other “deviations from the protocol” they could face what was labeled as “enhanced discipline.” This could mean fines and at worst the loss of draft picks.
Hopefully, this determination will serve as a warning to other teams. Follow the protocol, no matter what. If in doubt, leave him out. It’s the same rules we demand coaches at the high school and college level play by, and the NFL needs to be held accountable too.