HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) – The NFL and NFLPA released a joint report looking into the handling of the Concussion protocol in regards to Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage during The Texans loss to the San Francisco 49ers on December 10th.

The report states that the protocol was followed correctly by both the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant and the Texans team physicians and there will be no fine administered to the team for their handling of Savage.  After a hard hit in the end zone, Savage was reviewed on the sideline for a concussion and passed the tests and was allowed back in the game. He played one more series before being removed and given another concussion test which is when it was determined he did have a concussion and was pulled from the game.

In the report, the NFL did acknowledge Savage should not have returned to the game and because of the situation with Savage, the NFL has made changes to their protocol.

“The NFL and NFLPA recognize that Mr. Savage’s return to the game did not reflect the expected outcome of the Protocol. As such, the parties have agreed that no discipline will be assessed, but have already implemented several improvements to the Protocol to prevent such an unacceptable outcome in the future. Working in conjunction with the NFL’s independent Head, Neck and Spine Committee, these improvements include:

  • Implemented a pilot program utilizing a centralized UNC based  at the league office to monitor the broadcast feeds of all games. The UNC will contact the team medical staff on the sideline should they observe any signs or symptoms warranting further evaluation.

  • Defined impact seizure and fencing responses as independent signs of potential loss of consciousness, representing “No-Go” criteria under the current Protocol. Players who display either of these signs at any time shall be removed from play and may not return to the game.

  • Require a locker room concussion evaluation for all players demonstrating gross or sustained vertical instability (e.g., stumbling or falling to the ground when trying to stand).    

  • Officials, teammates, and coaching staffs have been instructed to take an injured player directly to a member of the medical team for appropriate evaluation, including a concussion assessment, if warranted. 

  • Require all players who undergo any concussion evaluation on game day to have a follow-up evaluation conducted the following day by a member of the medical staff.

  • Added a third UNC to all playoff games and the Super Bowl to serve as a backup who can step in immediately should one of the original two UNCs be absent from the sideline for a time to attend to a more severely injured player.”

Savage was placed on injured reserve prior to the Texans week 16 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien commented on the improvements to protocol in speaking with reporters on Friday.

“I think there’s a lot of things that can be improved, so I think anything where you can help obviously the safety of the player in this game is the most important thing. So I think anything helps when you try to improve that process,” O’Brien said.