This article is part of our Injury Analysis series.
Let the games begin! At long last, real injury reports are beginning to surface as teams prepare for Week 1 of the 2019-20 NFL season. Injuries likely will play a significant role in crowning your league's eventual champion. Injuries in football occur in varying degrees to every imaginable body part, each carrying its own unique treatment plan and recovery timeline. The only injury that has any sort of set protocol is the one most commonly associated with football, the concussion. First implemented in 2009, the NFL concussion protocol has helped guide the return to play for players who have sustained the head injury. With the season set to begin, let's review the steps to complete the return-to-participation protocol.
A concussion occurs when trauma to the head or neck results in a sudden but temporary disruption of basic neurological functions. This can include vision, hearing, facial movement, balance or even memory. Symptoms may clear after a day or two, while others may linger for an extended period of time. Often symptoms will disappear at baseline but return when the injured individual attempts to exercise or perform any exertional activities. Symptoms often vary from person to person, making concussions unpredictable and difficult to manage.
In an attempt to corral these issues and standardize treatment, the league implemented a five-step process that an injured athlete must complete before being cleared to fully practice or participate in a game. The first step is basically a waiting game as the player isn't allowed to do