Rivers Enters NFL Concussion Protocol

Chargers quarterback evaluated for suspected traumatic brain injury

Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn announced on Monday that quarterback Philip Rivers is in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Rivers was not sacked but did take several hits during Sunday’s 20-17 overtime loss to the Jaguars in Jacksonville. It's unknown when Rivers may have sustained the concussion.

He did not miss an offensive snap and spoke to the media afterwards, meaning at no point during the game was he evaluated for a traumatic brain injury. he reported what he believed were concussion-like symptoms to the team on Monday.

Since entering the league in 2004 Rivers had never been diagnosed with a concussion.

Rivers will now have to complete a five-step process in order to return to the playing field. These are the steps according to the NFL Play Smart Play Safe guidelines:

1.    Rest and recovery: The player is prescribed head rest until his signs and symptoms and neurologic examination, including cognitive and balance tests, return to baseline status (baseline status is established though testing when the player is not suspected of having a concussion).
2.    Light aerobic exercise: Under direct oversight of the team’s medical staff, the player should begin gradual cardiovascular exercise and may also engage in dynamic stretching and balance training.
3.    Continued aerobic exercise and introduction of strength training: The player continues with supervised cardiovascular exercises that are increased and may mimic sport-specific activities, and supervised strength training is introduced.
4.    Football-specific activities: The player continues cardiovascular, strength and balance training and participates in non-contact football activities.
5.    Full football activity/clearance: Upon clearance by the team physician for full football activity involving contact, the player must be examined by the Independent Neurological Consultant (INC) assigned to his club. If the INC concurs with the team physician that the player’s concussion has resolved the player may participate in his club’s next practice or game.

If Rivers is unable to be cleared for Sunday’s game in Carson against the Bills it’s likely that backup Kellen Clemens would get the start.

The Chargers were widely criticized in 2011 after offensive lineman Kris Dielman suffered an obvious brain injury during a game against the Jets and was allowed to stay in the game. Dielman experienced a seizure on the flight home and was hospitalized. Dielman retired after that season.

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