Focus at Four: NFL makes changes to concussion protocol

Some significant late-season changes have been made to the NFL's concussion protocol -- including the placement of a central unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant in the league's command center for all games -- following incidents that have triggered investigations.

The changes were implemented last weekend, Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer, told ESPN. A UNC was stationed at the command center that has been used primarily for game-replay review, he said.

The most notable changes in the new protocol, which was distributed publicly by the NFL just prior to Sunday's kickoffs:

* A central UNC will be stationed in the NFL's command center to assist in oversight of each game via broadcasts;
* Any sign of impact seizure will be considered the same as loss of consciousness and the player will be taken out of the game and may not return;
* A referee who removes a player from the game for suspected head trauma must notify the medical staff;
* A player who exhibits gross motor instability or significant loss of balance must be taken to the locker room for evaluation if it is not diagnosed as an orthopedic injury;
* A player who is evaluated for a concussion must be re-evaluated within 24 hours, even if the player has an off day;
* A third UNC will be on site for the playoffs and the Super Bowl, in addition to the two already assigned to each regular-season game.