CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) - UPDATE: (12 p.m. 9/11/16) - The NFL and NFL Players' Association announced Sunday they're addressing the circumstances surrounding the decisions made by medical personnel during Thursday's season opener between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.
The NFL said they have initiated a review of the medical team's response to a late-game hit on Cam Newton by Broncos safety Darian Stewart that sent the reigning NFL MVP hard to the ground, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per an NFL spokesman.
"The NFL is committed to the proper application of the concussion protocol," the league spokesman said in a statement. "In order to ensure that it is being uniformly applied across all 32 NFL teams, we have decided to initiate a review of the medical team's response to the Cam Newton tackle, under the procedure set forth by the collective bargaining agreement. Under that procedure, representatives from the league and the players association will review the relevant documents and video and interview the involved parties to ensure that the protocol was applied properly. It is important to note that initiation of this process does not mean that we have seen any evidence that the protocol was applied improperly, but simply reflects our obligation to ensure the health and safety of our players."
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The question on everyone's mind - did the NFL make the right call to not pull Cam Newton from Thursday night's game?
People all over social media are questioning it. But both Coach Ron Rivera and the NFL said they made the right call and followed the right protocol.
Four helmet-to-helmet hits against Cam Newton in Thursday night's game against the Broncos have many Panthers fans up in arms about the calls, and if the NFL followed their new concussion protocol.
"I think some of them were hits that most certainly should have drawn flags, in my opinion they do. But again that's up to the referees," Coach Rivera said.
Coach Rivera said he's sure the NFL's concussion protocol was followed properly.
"There's a protocol, there's a set of rules these trained professionals have to follow and the understanding is that when things first happened...they followed protocol," Coach Rivera said.
Last season, the NFL implemented independent injury spotters who have the power to stop the game if they feel a player has suffered an injury, like concussion.
"Our doctor and the independent come together and they go on and look at it immediately on instant replay and in this case it happened," Coach Rivera explained.
The NFL release a statement Friday morning saying medical officials determined Cam was fine to play, stating:
"There were no indications of a concussion that would require further evaluation and the removal of the player from the game."
But the actions take in the game, many said, prove otherwise.
"There is certainly evidence that someone going back into a game, having a second blow or a third blow in a short period of time. may have more accumulative effect than spacing them out. So that is a part of their reasoning behind the protocol," Carolina Healthspan Institute Neuroscience Specialist Dr. Ronald Brown said.
Dr. Brown treats the long-term effects of concussions. He said symptoms may not show up right away, but like anything catching it early on is key.
"There are absolutely things that can be monitored, testing that can be used. Within the next few years we will have some better testing that would make us a little bit more serious about treating the problem," Dr. Brown said.
Coach Rivera during his news conference Friday said something needs to change - if those hits would have been flagged from the beginning - they most likely wouldn't have continued during the game.