It didn’t take long for concussions to take over the narrative for the NFL season. After the season kicked-off in a big way, with the Denver Broncos defeating the Carolina Panthers 20-21 on the opening Thursday of the NFL season, attention quickly shifted to the mental state of Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton seemingly was getting knocked down on every play of the second half. The Broncos defense was laying big hits on them and many of them featured force to Newton’s head. At the conclusion of the game, many speculated that Newton suffered a concussion and should’ve been sidelined and forced to go through the league’s concussion protocol. According to a Carolina Panther official, however, Newton has passed four separate concussion protocol tests. Of course, these tests occurred after the final whistle blew and the game was finished.
So, while we’re happy that Newton has been cleared of any possible concussion, it’s still disconcerting that he didn’t miss any plays during the actual game. To viewers, it was obvious that he was shaken up. He received multiple helmet-to-helmet hits from the ferocious Denver defense. At times, he appeared dazed and out of it. The NFL has constantly said that player safety is their number one priority. If this is the case, however, Newton should’ve been given some sort of exam on the sideline. Just because he’s a star and his team needs him in there doesn’t make him less susceptible to concussions. As the year goes on, hopefully the league will tighten up their sideline concussion protocol. Otherwise, future players not be as lucky as Cam.