Concussion protocol in the NFL is a sensitive subject these days given the situation involved Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
As a result, many viewers were taken aback when Bucs tight end Cameron Brate reentered the game after appearing dazed following a collision with a teammate last night. Brate left momentarily, but returned to the action before entering concussion protocol at halftime.
On Monday, Bucs head coach Todd Bowles explained why Brate was allowed to check back in. According to Bowles, the veteran pass catcher complained about shoulder pain at first and didn’t mention he was experiencing concussion symptoms until halftime.
“[Brate] complained of shoulder discomfort,” Bowles said, via Pro Football Talk. “He said nothing about his head on the sideline. Nobody called down. He was checked out three times. And he went back in until the end of the half. The concussion thing didn’t come up until halftime.”
The “nobody called down” portion of Bowles’ quote is what former NFL head coach Tony Dungy has been focusing on since last night.
“Broken system,” Dungy tweeted. “I was on the sideline very close to Brate-obvious he had his bell rung. There’s a league appointed spotter in the press box who should stop play & alert the referee. Brate shouldn’t have been allowed to return until after an evaluation. Why didn’t that happen???”
It seems clear that somebody should have stepped in here and directed the Bucs to take an immediate look at Brate. This is something the NFL is going to have to clean up as the season progresses.