NFL evaluates Cam Newton hit, tweaks concussion protocol

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes under pressure from New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

NEW YORK (AP) The NFL will require the athletic trainer in the press box to stay in contact with on-field doctors to help determine if a player has suffered a concussion.

The requirement, announced Wednesday, is an enhancement made to prevent confusion that occurred in the season opener, when Carolina's Cam Newton was allowed to return after getting hit in the head.

Under the league's concussion protocol, the NFL's athletic trainer wasn't allowed to call a ''medical timeout'' after being contacted by personnel on the field. In Newton's case, the team physician and an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant asked the trainer for video of the hit, but a technology glitch delayed the video.

After getting the replay and observing Newton on the sideline, the physician and neurotrauma consultant said no further evaluation of the quarterback was necessary.

Under the new protocol, the trainer in the booth would be able to stay in contact with doctors on the field until receiving word that a concussion evaluation has occurred.

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