The NFL’s concussion protocol consists of a three-step process that a player must go through before being cleared to return. There is no specific timetable listed, as “each player and each concussion is unique,” the protocol states. A look at the three steps:
▪ After a period of rest and recovery, a player must return to his baseline status in a neurological exam. The baseline is determined during a neurological exam that is given to every player as part of his preseason physical.
▪ A gradual exercise program begins when the player returns to baseline. The player starts with light aerobic activities, such as riding a stationary bike, before being able to resume weight training and, later, participating in non-contact drills at practice. The progression is stopped if the player experiences a re-occurrence of symptoms.
▪ Before being allowed to play in games, the player must be cleared by not only the team’s medical staff, but an independent neurological consultant.