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nfl-logoThe NFL and the league’s players’ association today announced a new enforcement policy for its concussion protocol that will punish teams for not adhering to the rules.

Both the NFL and NFLPA will designate a representative to monitor a team’s concussion assessment, which takes place during a game and throughout a recovery process. “The investigation will not reach medical conclusions; it will only determine whether the protocol was followed,” the league noted today.

If both parties find that any violation occurred, it will recommend disciplinary action. First-action offenses will be assessed a fine of up to $150,000; any violations thereafter will result in a $100,00 minimum fine.

The policy also states that if the NFL commissioner finds a team disobeying the protocol to gain a competitive advantage, that team may lose draft picks, in addition to fines. This is perhaps the most notable aspect of the new enforcement policy — it’s not just money that teams could lose, but future talent.

The league’s concussion protocol was critiqued last season after St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum was left in the game after suffering a head injury.

On a related note, University of Washington-spinout and Seattle-based startup Vicis is having collegiate and NFL players test its high-tech helmet this season that aims to reduce head trauma.

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