The concussion suffered last year by Rams quarterback Case Keenum against the Ravens, and the way it was handled, surely played a part in new punishment announced Monday by the NFL for teams violating the league’s concussion protocol.
The Players Association and the league made a joint announcement about the new standards.
Under the new policy, teams could be fined anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 for a first violation of the concussion protocol, or suffer loss of draft picks. For a second violation, the minimum fine will be $100,000.
Major concerns about enforcing in-game concussion protocol were raised during a November game last year at M&T Bank Stadium between the Rams and Ravens.
With just over a minute left to play, Ravens defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan sacked Keenum, and the back of his head slammed violently against the turf. Keenum held his head while lying on the ground and initially had trouble getting to his feet.
The Rams’ athletic trainer ran onto the field to check on Keenum, but he remained in the game. Keenum fumbled two plays later, and after the game, it was announced he had suffered a concussion.
The league investigated the Rams’ handling of the situation and the team was not fined. However, not everyone was satisfied, including NFLPA president Eric Winston.
“Show me someone that says, ‘No, the Rams did exactly the right thing,”’ Winston told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last year. “They didn’t. Everybody knows they didn’t. So there has to be discipline, right? Because when a player doesn’t do something that he’s supposed to do, he gets fined for that when it comes to health and safety.”
As a result, the NFL and the Players Association have agreed on punishment that could help protect players who have been concussed.