Add the case of Tom Savage to the Everest-sized mountain of evidence that the NFL gives zero shits about the health of their players.
Early in the second quarter of the Houston Texans‘ 26-16 defeat at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, Savage was dragged to the turf by Elvis Dumervil. The Texans quarterback’s head struck the ground, and immediately after, his body tensed up and his arms started shaking.
It was terrifying.
I don’t know how Savage was able to go back into the game after having a seizure. Not a good look for the NFL. pic.twitter.com/H3nRYChX3Z
— ’03 Kliff Kingsbury (@fearthe_beard11) December 10, 2017
Not terrifying enough, however, to rule the quarterback out of the team’s next offensive series.
After a 49ers field goal, Savage retook the field to helm another three-and-out. Only after that series was he removed from the game.
When a player suffers a potential concussion, the NFL concussion protocol demands the individual be evaluated by an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant and the team doctor, who also must review video of the play in question before sending the player back onto the field.
According to head coach Bill O’Brien, Savage was checked out immediately after the hit, but was then pulled from the game following a second test after the ensuing three-and-out.
“[They] made the determination that he was OK,” O’Brien said. “Not me, obviously the evaluators made the determination to put him back in the game. He went back in the game and came out and they evaluated him a little bit more just because of what they saw.”
“Whatever [the evaluators] see and the testing that they do they try to make the best decision with the player and they weren’t satisfied with the results of the second test so they decided to pull him, and that’s when he went into the locker room.”
This is not the first time we’ve seen a team skirt the NFL concussion protocol.
After the Seattle Seahawks violated the policy last month to keep Russell Wilson in a game, it was reported that the team would likely be punished. It’s been a month, and nothing’s happened.