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Discipline now involved for NFL teams violating concussion protocol

The NFL and NFLPA reached an agreement to enforce the NFL Game Day Concussion Protocol, where teams could face fines and forfeiture of draft picks if they violate the protocol.

The NFL and NFL Players Association are teaming up to enforce the NFL Game Day Concussion Protocol, including a “strict and fair process to investigate incidents and determine appropriate discipline” for violators, according to a release on the joint effort.

The potential discipline for NFL teams violating the concussion protocol could include fines and forfeiting draft picks. However, the NFL and the NFL Players Association jointly agreed that the commissioner retains “absolute discretion” to determine penalties.

According to the guidelines outlined, discipline would increase with each violation.

A first violation will require the club employees or medical team members involved to attend remedial education; and/or result in a maximum fine of $150,000 against the club.

Second and subsequent violations of the concussion protocol will result in a minimum fine of $100,000 against the club.

In the event the parties agree that a violation involved aggravating circumstances, the club shall be subject, in the first instance, to a fine no less than $50,000. The commissioner shall determine appropriate discipline for subsequent violations involving aggravating circumstances.

In the event that the commissioner determines that the club’s medical team failed to follow the protocol due to competitive considerations, the commissioner may require the club to forfeit draft pick(s) and impose additional fines exceeding those amounts set forth above.

The policy stipulates that the NFL and NFPLA will each designate a representative to monitor the implementation of the protocol and investigate potential violations. However, any investigation would only determine whether the protocol was followed, not reach any medical conclusions. If a violation is found, the two parties will recommend disciplinary action. If the NFL and NFLPA can’t agree, the case will be brought to a third-party arbitrator, who will conduct a review and issue a report to the commissioner, NFLPA Executive Director and the parties involved.

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