DeVante Parker called out the NFL for its awful handling of his concussion
December 14th, 2022
Patriots wide receiver DeVante Parker has a problem with the NFL after he suffered a concussion Monday night, and for good reason.
Parker was slow to get up after taking a hit from cornerback Antonio Hamilton during the Patriots’ 27-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals, stumbling and looking dazed as he was helped up. It was clear to anyone who saw him on TV at that moment that he’d likely just suffered head trauma. In that situation, the league’s independent certified athletic trainers in the stadium (commonly known as “spotters”) failed at their one job, which was to quickly identify Parker’s possible concussion symptoms and then immediately remove him from the game.
Instead, it was Parker’s teammate Nelson Agholor who frantically gestured for a stoppage before the next play, as Parker could barely stand straight while attempting to line up. Watch below for the moment in question, via CBS Boston’s Michael Hurley.
A failure by the concussion spotter. DeVante Parker could not stand up straight after hitting the ground. Nelson Agholor took a knee and was flailing desperately to try to get the play stopped for Parker. pic.twitter.com/TtjfOqyEbH
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported that the NFLPA had “initiated an inquiry” into the way the league handled Parker and his apparent concussion at the time. One might say the league didn’t handle the matter at all. A total dereliction of duty by the independent concussion spotters.
Parker himself was quick to take to social media in the wake of the reports on the NFLPA’s inquiry, tweeting “Please tell me” and replying to other tweets by people commenting on the matter.
Unfortunately, Parker replied to one person who seemed relatively uneducated about concussions. What this tweeter doesn’t understand is that confusion and disorientation are two primary symptoms of concussive head trauma, and research has shown that athletes often don’t report their own concussions because they’re unaware of the injury or the severity of it.
Athletes also at times fail to report concussions simply because they want to stay in the game. That’s why the concussion spotters are in the stadium in the first place. To protect athletes from themselves.
The NFL clearly failed to do that with Parker on Monday night. So when he took to his Instagram story to directly call out the league for its piss-poor handling of the situation, his anger is understandable – as is his appreciation for Agholor taking matters into his own hands.
“Get on yalls fuckin job @nfl Thankful my brother was aware of the situation,” Parker said in his story, mentioning Agholor.
DeVante Parker calls out the NFL. (@devanteparker11/Instagram)
Concussions have surged back to the surface of discussion during the 2022 season, particularly after Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was allowed to return to a game on Sept. 25 after suffering a head injury. The independent spotter from that game was eventually fired, and balance/coordination problems were added to the list of symptoms to watch for in the league’s concussion protocol.
The ensuing crackdown on concussion spotting and balance problems across the NFL makes it even more stunning that the league was slow to respond to Parker’s head injury. Especially considering that the ESPN cameras were all over it, and it took his own teammate to stop the game. So, this doesn’t appear to be the end of this particular issue as it relates to Parker and the league’s sloppy handling of head injuries.
Parker is not likely to be at Patriots practice on Wednesday, when the team gets to work at Arizona Stadium in Tuscon. He’s likely in concussion protocol and will need to clear it in order to return to the field.
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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.