Inside Voices: McCoy And Concussion Protocol


NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles

LeSean McCoy skipped over the David Amerson hit during film review this week.

“I didn’t want to watch that,” he said.

McCoy was on the receiving end of a hat-on-hat collision with the Washington corner late in the first quarter. He immediately took off his helmet and put his hands to his eyes as members of the medical staff  from both teams rushed out to tend to him.

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“It was just one of them football hits. Just got caught, and I was dazed for just a second. But that was it,” he said.

After a brief once-over on the sideline, McCoy began pleading with the trainers to let him play. They snatched his helmet off the bench to ensure that he didn’t race back in before being cleared. McCoy tried to get it back but eventually relented and jogged inside to undergo further evaluation.

He was back in a flash and went on to play the rest of the game,  finishing with 22 yards on 19 carries (1.2 avg.). After taking the blow to the head late in the first quarter, he totaled just 12 yards on 17 carries (0.7 YPC). Given how quickly he re-entered the game and how unproductive or “unlike himself” he was on the day, some have wondered whether the necessary protocol was followed when it came to the handling of the star back. So we looked into it.

Previously, answers would have been a little harder to come by; if a team’s medical staff did not take the appropriate measures or mishandled the situation, how would you know? But under the new set-up there is an Unaffiliated Neurological Consultant (UNC) at each game that oversees the process and then sends a report back to both the league and the NFL Players Association. According to NFLPA medical director Dr. Thomas Mayer, there was “nothing noteworthy” in the report on McCoy.

As for how quickly he returned: there is no minimum amount of time that a player checked for a concussion is required to sit out, Mayer said. There is a series of tests, or BESS exam (Balance Error Scoring System) that he must go through. Typically that takes 8-10 minutes to administer.

If you have ever been curious what that test looks like, here it is:

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The results are matched up against the baseline test that a player takes prior to the season.

“I passed it with flying colors,” said McCoy. “[I had to] just remember words, numbers, do the months in order and then do it backwards. I guess checking my memory: explaining the play, things like that. Nothing too hard. Then again some of that stuff I wouldn’t have passed if I never had a hit.”

It probably won’t be long before these methods are considered archaic. Soon there could be a blood test or CT scan that instantly reveals whether a player has a concussion. For now, Dr. Mayer believes the NFL is using the best science and technology available to them, and says it was properly applied in the case of McCoy.

Increased Reps For Carroll

While the talk has been about how Brandon Boykin should get a shot at playing on the outside, the more likely candidate to get promoted to one of the starting corner posts is Nolan Carroll. 

Carroll noticed a bump in his first-team reps this week, he said.  The five-year vet rotated in for both Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams alike. It does not appear that Billy Davis will change the starting tandem this week, but it is plausible that Carroll sees an increase in playing time against San Francisco.

“I don’t read into anything. I go through it like I go through it every week,” said Carroll. “Every week you work towards that goal, you try to show throughout the week and on Sundays that you can increase your role and hopefully that’s what I’ve been doing.”

Last week was not Fletcher’s best outing. He was targeted 16 times and yielded nine receptions for 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns, per Pro Football Focus. Williams was targeted 10 times and gave up seven catches for 98 yards.  The defense has yielded 841 yards through the air in all, which ranks 30th in the NFL. There’s a lot that goes into that, but cornerback play is a part of it.

“You don’t think about how he needs to come off the field and let me come on and I can do something different. It’s a team effort,” said Carroll. “When all five guys are on the field — me, Cary, Brad, Malcolm [Jenkins] and Nate [Allen] — when we’re on the field, that’s all one group. That’s the same when it’s just Cary, Brad, Nate and Malcolm on the field. It’s all one group and we’re all working together to get things right and not give up as many yards as we have been in the past three games.”

Carroll has given up four receptions on as many targets in his limited playing time to date. The training camp standout has been working in primarily as the dime corner. That role could increase, particularly if the starters don’t pick it up on their end.

Parkey Fever

Cody Parkey has been the object of many an Eagles fan’s affection ever since he booted a pair of 50-plus yarders in the preseason finale against the Jets. The love is strong, but because Parkey looks more camp counselor than football player, he mingles with the masses without drawing much attention.

“I mean I’ve gotten recognized a few times in the…King of Prussia Mall?  I think that’s what it’s called,” he said. “But other than that, I’m in the clear so far. I try not to wear any Eagles gear or anything to give it away. If someone can recognize me wearing average clothes, being an Average Joe out there, then more power to ’em.”

And those that have recognized you?

“They just say: ‘That’s Cody Parkey. Good job!’ And I just kind of keep walking.”

The rookie has converted eight of his nine field goal attempts through three games, including two from beyond 50 yards. He’s also proven to be a weapon on kickoffs in the early going, as 14 of his 21 kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks. After frustrations over the lack of boom in Alex Henery‘s leg, Parkey has been welcomed with open arms.

“Everyone’s been real nice to me. Nothing but good stuff to say. I just have to keep doing my job and they’ll keep loving me,” he said.