NEW YORK: The NFL is stepping up penalties on teams that fail to follow its concussion protocol designed to protect players from the dangers of repeated head injuries.
The league and the NFL Players Association announced a new policy on Monday setting forth disciplinary action against a club should a member of its medical staff or other employee fail to follow the protocol — which calls for players who might have suffered a concussion to be medically cleared before returning to the field.
Clubs found in violation could face fines of up to $150,000 and the forfeiture of future draft selections.
The protocol came under scrutiny last season when the Rams were criticized for leaving quarterback Case Keenum in a game after a blow to the head left him obviously dazed.
The league and union said that under the new policy a representative of each will monitor the implementation of the protocol and investigate potential violations.
The investigation will not reach medical conclusions but will only determine whether the protocol was followed.
Following the investigation, the NFL and NFLPA will review the findings to determine if a violation occurred and, if so, to recommend the proper disciplinary response.