Chicago Bears rookie safety Jaquan Brisker was injured in the NFL’s concussion protocol following Sunday’s loss in Atlanta.
Brisker missed practice Wednesday, and his status for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets remains in question while he undergoes further evaluation.
Brisker played 53 of 55 snaps against the Falcons, but was taken off the field twice to be evaluated for a head injury.
The first instance came in the Falcons’ opening series after the rookie scouted Mariota in the emergency room. Brisker’s head rammed into the back of Falcons tight end MyCole Pruitt on the next end, and the defensive back was slow to his feet.
He was taken out of the game to watch, but one shot was snapped before returning.
In the third quarter, Brisker struck again with an assist to put down Cordarrelles Patterson at shortstop. It appeared to be a practice play, but Brisker grabbed his head and appeared to be in trouble after being hit on the turf. He was later removed from the field before the next play to be looked at again. However, he returned for the next series and finished the game.
He was officially diagnosed with a concussion until Monday.
Two other Bears players – cornerback Kyler Gordon and linebacker Sterling Weatherford – also landed in the concussion protocol after the game. Gordon helped the field after Mariota scored on a 10-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. Gordon tangled with Mariota at the goal line and stayed down. Unlike Brisker, however, he did not return to the game in the quarter.
The NFL system was related to the concussion under closer scrutiny at this time Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagavailoa has been cleared to return to the field after taking a big hit in a Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills. Tagavailoa shook his head, stumbled around and became noticeably firmer with that blow. But after the Dolphins medical staff and a neurotrauma consultant evaluated the injury, the team was finally told it was a back problem. Tagavailoa finished that game and started the Cincinnati Bengals four nights later and was cleared.
In that game, Tagavailoa was thrown to the turf by a Bengals defender, hit his head and went into a shutdown response, which occurs when the brain absorbs significant force.
The NFL launched an investigation and later amended its concussion-related rules, prohibiting any player who exhibits ataxia — an impairment of balance or stability, motor coordination or speech dysfunction caused by a neurological event — from returning to the game.
“If a person is visibly impaired, you have to protect them,” Bears linebacker Nicholas Morrow told the reporter last month. “There is no responsibility on either side. (As) the players, we are mindful of how we approach the protocols, but also to ensure maximum efficiency in execution.
However, even with the utmost caution, the player’s desire to return to the field sometimes complicates matters.
The NFL’s chief medical officer, Allen Sills, acknowledged last month that, despite more careful precautions and procedures, the possibility of players returning to the field after experiencing a concussion remains.
“We don’t always want to make a mistake on the part of the players and evaluate them as if they were injured,” Silla said to the tribune of the people. “Diagnosing concussion remains difficult. Even today in 2022, with all our technology and all the understanding we have, we still have very serious symptoms in the patient reporting.
“I have been a neurosurgeon for 30 years, and I can tell you that there are some cases where the diagnosis is very easy and straightforward, but there are others where it is very difficult, and we still have a lot to learn about difficult cases and what is and is not a concussion.
The status of Brisker, Gordon and Weatherford in Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium will be important as the week progresses.