The NFL has determined that its concussion protocol “was not strictly followed” by the Dolphins after Matt Moore took a vicious shot to the head in Miami’s Wild Card loss to Pittsburgh.
Team physicians and the unaffiliated medical consultant missed that Moore was bleeding from the mouth -- which is a documented symptom that needed further evaluation -- before clearing him to return after just one snap on the sidelines.
The league did not punish the Dolphins for the violation, but did warn them that “any future deviation from the protocol may result in enhanced discipline, including monetary fines assessed against the club.”
Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree laid out Moore in the second quarter of the Jan. 8 game with an illegal hit to the chin and mouth. Dupree was penalized and later fined. Moore stayed down for a couple of minutes before leaving the field.
“Mr. Moore was attended to by medical staff on the field and on the sideline,” the NFL said in a statement. “The team doctor took appropriate steps to promptly and fully involve the Unaffiliated Neuro-trauma Consultant (UNC) in the medical evaluation of the player and review of the video. They jointly cleared Mr. Moore to return to the game, but did not recognize that Mr. Moore presented a documented symptom, bleeding from the mouth, that required further evaluation in the locker room under the protocol. There is no indication that competitive issues had an impact on the care that Mr. Moore received, nor did Mr. Moore demonstrate any concussion symptoms either during or at any time following the game.”
The league notified the Dolphins of the violation in a letter co-signed by Dr. Hunt Batjer, Co-Chair of the NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee, and Dr. Thom Mayer, Medical Director for the NFLPA.