Medical tents will be a permanent fixture on NFL sidelines this season.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the development at the Spring League Meeting on Tuesday, a few months after the small, mobile units gained popularity at the college level for their ability to aid doctors and trainers in doing their job without a raucous crowd bearing down on them from the stands.
“We also spent a fair amount of time on health and safety as we normally do,” Goodell said. “Dr. [Allen] Sills, our new chief medical officer is here, and he obviously made a presentation to the membership. He’s only three weeks into the job, but there are several things that he reported on, including this year we will be using medical examination tents on the sidelines which you may have seen to some extent on the college level.
“It’s an opportunity for us to have a better examination because it will ensure privacy for a short period of time so doctors can go ahead and make the appropriate diagnosis.”
The tent would save teams time running to a locker room and still grant them the requisite atmosphere to conduct a thorough review. As Jeff Allen, a pioneer in sideline medical tents, told USA Today back in October of last year, the “most critical time in evaluating is five-to-10 minutes after the injury, and to have that type of environment makes a difference.”
Some other notes from Goodell:
» Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis voiced his frustration with relaxed celebration rules on Tuesday, suggesting it would set a bad example for “young people.”
In response, Goodell said he hopes — and believes — the current crop of NFL players will prove Lewis wrong.
“Well I’ve heard it from Marvin before,” Goodell said. “We’ve had these discussions over the last couple years. And I think the players will prove him wrong on that. I think the players will do this in a way that will be responsible, show good sportsmanship, and do it in a way I think is entertaining but also respectful.”
» The commissioner conceded that Oakland was a bigger market than Las Vegas. But there is one reason the league is warming to the Raiders’ future home: Faster growth. When asked by a reporter about abandoning the larger market, Goodell cited Vegas’ potential as one reason to be optimistic about the change.
» Last week, Gisele Bundchen, the wife of Tom Brady, told CBS This Morning that the Patriots quarterback had a concussion in 2016 and has had others in the past. However, Brady never was listed on a Patriots medical report with a concussion. Since then, Brady’s agent, Don Yee, has come out and said that Brady never was diagnosed a concussion. The NFL also addressed the matter, stating they found “no records that indicate that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms.”
Goodell addressed Bundchen’s comments directly:
“Well, I think you also saw the statement that I think his agent made in that he hasn’t been diagnosed with a concussion or wasn’t last season. But this is something that’s an ongoing issue for us. We want to make sure that the proper medical care is given to every player. The responsibility is a shared responsibility for our teams, our medical professionals, the players themselves. We put in a lot of safeguards that I think are incredibly important in changing the culture and I think that’s what we’ve done. But there’s still more work to be done. And we’ll continue to do that. We do not have any records that indicate that Tom suffered any kind of concussion or head injury. But we will continue to work with the [NFL Players Association] and see what we can do to improve the protocols.”