The NFL and NFLPA has cleared the Panthers from any wrongdoing in regards to how they handled a potential concussion suffered by Cam Newton on Jan. 7th.
Newton went down awkwardly because of a right knee injury the Panthers evaluated during the third quarter, according to the NFL’s statement.
An MRI of Newton’s knee the day after the game revealed ligament and cartilage damage and “very extensive swelling,” according to the league.
Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, told the Observer that Newton could not fully bend his right knee, which caused him to go to the ground “in a somewhat awkward fashion.”
But Sills said Newton did not show any of the signs that would have warranted a locker room evaluation.
“Gross motor instability does not mean that you take a knee and go to the ground. Gross motor instability is reflective of dysfunction of the cerebellum, the balance center in the brain, where someone cannot even keep a vertical posture. And that’s clearly not what happened in this case,” Sills said in a phone interview.
“It’s very straightforward. There was no gross motor instability here,” Sills added. “He voluntarily went to the ground at the direction of the coaching staff, and he had a knee injury that prevented him from doing so in a standard manner.
“It was never our intent that every player who takes a knee on the field needs a concussion evaluation in the locker room. That’s not what gross motor instability means.”
NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said Newton’s situation against the Saints highlights the challenges media members and “armchair experts” face when expressing their concerns over player safety.
“People are making judgments about this without all the facts and without a full understanding of some of the medical determinations that are made,” Lockhart told the Observer.
“Sitting at home watching it on TV without a full understanding of this and without the medical background leaves you in a place where you should not draw conclusions and you should wait for all the facts.”