Chicago Bears rookie safety Jaquan Brisker was placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol after Sunday’s loss at Atlanta.

Brisker missed practice on Wednesday and his status for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets remains in question as he undergoes further evaluation.

Brisker played 53 of 55 defensive snaps against the Falcons but was taken off the field twice to be examined for a head injury.

The first occurred in the Falcons’ opening drive after the rookie tackled quarterback Marcus Mariota during a scrimmage. Brisker’s head hit the back of Falcons tight end Mykol Pruitt during the series, and the defensive back was slow to his feet.

He was pulled from the game to be looked at, but only missed one snap before returning.

In the third quarter, Brisker was rocked again after helping bring down Cordarrelle Patterson on a short yardage. It appeared to be a routine play, but Brisker grabbed his head and appeared to be in discomfort after hitting the turf. He was subsequently carted off the field before the next game to be looked at again. However, he came back on the next series and finished the game.

He was officially diagnosed with a concussion only on Monday.

Two other Bears players — cornerback Kyler Gordon and linebacker Sterling Weatherford — also went into concussion protocol after the game. Gordon was helped off the field after Mariota scored on a 10-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. Gordon collided with Mariota at the goal line and was left lying. But unlike Brisker, he did not return to the game in the fourth quarter.

The NFL’s concussion procedures were under scrutiny this season after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagavailoa was cleared to return to the field after taking a hard hit during a Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills. Tagovailoa shook his head, stumbled and was visibly wobbly after the hit. But after the Dolphins’ medical staff and an independent neurotrauma consultant evaluated him, the team ultimately ruled it an old problem. Tagovailoa finished that game and was cleared to play against the Cincinnati Bengals four nights later.

On that play, Tagovailoa was thrown to the turf by a Bengals defender, hit his head and went into a fencing response, which happens when the brain absorbs significant force.

The NFL launched an investigation and subsequently amended its concussion rules, barring any player who exhibits ataxia — impaired balance or stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by neurological problems — from returning during a game.

“When there’s a guy with visible violations, you’ve got to protect him,” Bears linebacker Nicholas Morrow told the Tribune last month. “The responsibility lies on both sides. (As) players, we have to be mindful of how we approach protocols, but they also have to be executed with maximum efficiency.”

However, even with the utmost care, a player’s desire to return to the field can sometimes complicate matters.

The NFL’s chief medical officer, Allen Sills, acknowledged last month that despite increased precautions and procedures, the possibility of players returning to the field after a concussion remains.

“We want to always err on the side of pulling players, evaluating them and keeping them out when they might get hurt,” Sills told the Tribune. “Concussion remains difficult to diagnose. Even today, in 2022, with all our technology and all the understanding we have, we still have to rely heavily on patient-reported symptoms.

“I have been a neurosurgeon for over 30 years and I will tell you that there are cases where the diagnosis is very easy and clear, but there are others where it is very difficult to make and we still have a lot to learn. about those tough cases and what concussions are and aren’t.’

The statuses of Brisker, Gordon and Weatherford for Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium will be worth monitoring throughout the week.


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