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Report: Independent neurologist resigns after RG3 fiasco

Robert Griffin III, Tyrunn Walker, Ezekiel Ansah


The odd story of Robert Griffin III’s concussion has taken another strange turn: The independent neurologist who first cleared Griffin to play, then said the next day that Griffin could not play, has reportedly resigned and will no longer work with the NFL going forward.

The Washington Post reports that Dr. Robert N. Kurtzke resigned from the neurological consultant program operated by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. According to the report, Kurtzke will continue to consult with Griffin until he’s fully cleared to return to the field, but otherwise Kurtzke is done working with the NFL.

It’s unclear why Kurtzke has decided to stop working with the NFL, which has said that its reliance on independent neurologists like Kurtzke is an important part of keeping players safe after suffering concussions. But whatever the reasons, it’s a bad look after the situation with Griffin has been thoroughly botched from the beginning.

When Griffin first went down in an August 20 preseason game, the team couldn’t get its story straight about whether he suffered a concussion or not. Later, coach Jay Gruden said Griffin did have a concussion but would remain the team’s starting quarterback. Reports out of Washington said the team didn’t think Griffin’s concussion was severe, and questions were raised about whether the concussion was just used as a pretext to keep Griffin from talking to the media. Griffin then returned to practice as Gruden continued to insist that Griffin would be the starter. Asked directly if he had a concussion or not, Griffin refused to answer. The team then said Griffin had been cleared to play and would start the third preseason game. A day later, the team announced that Kurtzke hadn’t cleared Griffin to play after all, and said it could be weeks before he’d be ready to go. Then Gruden abruptly changed course and announced that Griffin is now a backup.

Gee, why wouldn’t Dr. Kutzke want to be associated with something like that?