Due to Cleveland’s (lack of) response in checking for concussion symptoms on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy following James Harrison’s hit in week 14 that suspended the Steelers linebacker for a game, the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams announcing a new concussion protocol this weekend during the game. The memo reads:
First, we have arranged for a certified athletic trainer to be at each game to monitor play of both teams and provide medical staffs with any relevant information that may assist them in determining the most appropriate evaluation and treatment. This athletic trainer will be stationed in a booth upstairs with access to video replay and direct communication to the medical staffs of both teams. In most cases, the athletic trainer will be affiliated with a major college program in the area or will have previously been affiliated with an NFL club. This individual will not diagnose or prescribe treatment, nor have any authority to direct that a player be removed from the game. Instead, the athletic trainer’s role will be to provide information to team medical staffs that might have been missed due to a lack of a clear view of the play or because they were attending to other players or duties. The athletic trainers are being identified and selected with the assistance of each club and the NFLPA. Their fees and expenses will be paid by the NFL office.
Second, club medical staffs will be permitted to use their cell phones during games for purposes of obtaining information relating to the care of an injured player. This is not limited to concussions and is intended to assist team medical staffs in addressing a variety of injuries.
Clubs also were reminded of the importance of team coaching and medical staffs continuing to work together to ensure that full information is available at all times to medical staffs, that players do not take steps to avoid evaluations, and that concussions continue to be managed in a conservative and medically appropriate way.
The officials that are mandated by the league now will be "paid by the NFL and approved by the NFLPA", according to NFL Sportsman Greg Aiello. The trainer will be placed in the press box.
According to Dan Hoard, Cincinnati’s trainer mandated by the league is Mike Gordon who is the "head trainer at Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School and a former Bengals intern."
Gordon will be wired into the bench via phone as he offers Bengals trainer Paul Sparling an extra set of eyes in the effort to spot players suffering from head injuries.
Gordon interned with the club in 2001 and 2003 and was a finalist for an assistant trainer’s job with the club in 2009.