As new NFL concussion protocols stall, Rams’ David Edwards back

On the day that Rams offensive lineman David Edwards approved the concussion protocol and said he would play the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, the NFL players’ union released a statement Friday urging the NFL to make changes to implement the protocols immediately.

Friday’s union action was spurred after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left and then was allowed to return to a Sept. 25 game against the Buffalo Bills after suffering a head injury. Tagovailoa then suffered head and neck injuries during a September 29 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Our union has agreed to amend concussion protocols to protect players from returning to the game in the event of an incident similar to the one we saw on September 25,” the NFLPA statement said. “We want these changes to go into effect ahead of this weekend’s games to protect players immediately, and we hope the NFL will accept the change before then.”

The NFL responded with a statement.

“As we discussed with the NFLPA, we agree that changes to the joint NFL-NFLPA protocols are necessary to further improve player safety,” the statement said. “We have already spoken to a member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee and the leadership of the Independent Neurotrauma Counselors and Independent Certified Athletic Coaches who serve as observers to discuss these likely changes.”

Edwards, the left starting guard, sat out last Monday’s 24-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers after reporting symptoms himself earlier Friday.

The Rams’ injury-plagued line gave up seven sacks against the 49ers and now faces a Cowboys defense that ranks second in the league with 15 sacks.

Coach Sean McVay is delighted to have Edwards back.

“It’s great stability,” McVay said.

Edwards, 25, said he absorbed a “shot” during training “that was normal and consistent with everything we’ve done up to that point”.

However, as he played with his kids that night, he said he “just didn’t feel right.”

Edwards attended team meetings the next day.

“I just said to myself, if I’m still not feeling well, I have to say something,” he said.

Edwards reported his symptoms to Reggie Scott, the Rams’ vice president of sports medicine and performance, and said he also spoke to McVay and the team’s medical staff before entering the concussion protocol.

McVay said last week, “You can’t be too careful about some of these things,” and commended Edwards for “taking the right steps, especially with the [Tagovailoa] situation that has occurred.”

Asked Friday if he was affected by Tagovailoa’s situation, Edwards said he wasn’t.

“It was the first time in my life that I just didn’t feel right,” he said. “I felt like I owed it to my family and myself to speak up and say something.”

Edwards said he still feels “terrible that I couldn’t be out there with the boys, like I’m letting the boys down.”

But he said he learned from his experience playing through a shoulder injury during his final collegiate season in Wisconsin in 2018.

“I just owed it to myself and my family to say something,” he said. “It’s one of those things – you can scan a shoulder and say you’re out four to six weeks. You can’t scan your brain and say you’re out four to six weeks.

“It’s how you feel.”

Offensive tackle Rob Havenstein and injured center Brian Allen were among the teammates who offered support, Edwards said. But he said he felt “almost hopeless” as he watched his teammates battle the 49ers without him.

“You see guys out there fighting and you just want to be out there, but you’re sitting on your couch doing nothing,” he said, adding, “I’m sitting there and I’m like, ‘Oh my God. I’m sitting at home watching a soccer game when I’m supposed to be out there, like that. You know what I’m saying?

“That was the hard part.” As new NFL concussion protocols stall, Rams’ David Edwards back

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