Athletic trainer concussion spotters will now be able to bypass the teams and speak directly to game officials in order to call for a medical timeout during an NFL game. NFL owners approved the measure on March 24, 2015 for the upcoming season. Without saying so, it seemed as if Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee, identified that the teams were the weak link in getting a player out of the game quickly. According to the LA Times, McKay said the health and safety committee made it happen.
“We got the [certified trainer] spotters, they’ve got a really good vantage point, they’ve got technology in their booth, they’re communicating pretty well with our trainers and doctors, and we’ve got a pretty good rhythm going there, why would we miss a player where a player shouldn’t come out?” ~ Rich McKay
A good piece in the New York Times last November took a close look at the concussion spotter’s job. For the New York Giants home games, the spotter is Columbia University’s Head Athletic Trainer, Jim Gossett. Gossett told Times writer Bill Pennington that he looks for a player who is out of sync.
“It might be a player whose balance seems a little off, or he might be shaking his head after a hit. Sometimes it’s just someone adjusting his helmet over and over. ~ Jim Gossett, ATC
Not sure if each time has a concussion spotter in the booth on game day or who pays the weekly salary of the spotter. Hopefully the spotter is paid by the NFL and has no affiliation with any individual team – otherwise the ability to call a timeout and cause a particular player to be removed could be controversial.
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