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Fujita will ask NFLPA to push for independent neurologist at games

Jacksonville Jaguars v Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 20: Running back Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars dives for yardage as he is hit by linebacker Scott Fujita #99 of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

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In defending themselves against the manner in which quarterback Colt McCoy’s concussion-like concussion was handled, the Browns have pointed to, among other things, complimentary remarks from Browns linebacker Scott Fujita regarding the manner in which the team handled his own concussion. And that gives additional credibility to anything Fujita says regarding the topic of concussions.

On Sunday, Fujita -- a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee -- told Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Football Night In America that Fujita will press the NFLPA to request the presence of an independent neurologist at games.

Currently, the league requires any player diagnosed with a concussion during a game to be subsequently cleared by an independent neurologist before returning to practice or to a future game. But the league does not require an independent neurologist to attend NFL games. In fact, the NFL doesn’t even require a team-hired neurologist to be present at games.

“The one thing I know is that when it comes to this issue, players, coaches, and
team medical personnel struggle in the heat of the moment,” Fujita said earlier in the day, in an email sent both to King and to PFT. “This has been an
ongoing problem for years. The game-day sideline is intense, there’s a lot
going on, and we can’t always count on everyone to make the most responsible

Fujita pointed to the mindset of football players. They want to play when injured, just as Fujita wanted to play -- and did play -- last month after breaking his hand. “The question becomes not about what’s best for your health, but about what your pain tolerance is and what you’re willing to play through,” Fujita said.

“So when it comes to head injuries, I think the only real solution I’ve heard
that might help remedy this problem is to have an independent neurological
consultant on the sideline,” Fujita added. “I think we may have missed an opportunity to properly address this as we were finalizing the CBA. Hopefully it’s not too late to get it right.”

Hopefully, Scott’s words will be heeded by the NFLPA, and then by the league.