In a riveting Thursday Night Football clash for Week 14, the Pittsburgh Steelers faced off against the New England Patriots. The game, however, was overshadowed by a concerning incident involving Steelers' star linebacker T.J.
Watt. During the Patriots' opening drive, which culminated in a touchdown, Watt found himself inadvertently on the receiving end of a knee to the head from running back Ezekiel Elliott. This collision prompted Watt to immediately exit the field.
The broadcasting team, including Mike Florio and Kaylee Hartung, noted that Watt was not subjected to a concussion check initially. Instead, he was briefly attended to by the trainers for what seemed to be a jaw-related concern, before being left on his own.
Watt's Surprising Return
The drama intensified as Watt made a surprising return in the subsequent drive. Viewers, courtesy of Amazon's broadcast, witnessed Watt using smelling salts before rejoining the action. This was followed by the Patriots being forced to a three-and-out situation.
Subsequently, Al Michaels informed the audience that Watt was finally being taken to the concussion tent for an evaluation. This sequence of events raises critical questions about the handling of the situation. The efficiency and alertness of the Steelers' medical team and the NFL's concussion spotters come under scrutiny.
Why was Watt allowed back into the game without undergoing a concussion check, especially given the nature of the impact? Even if the initial concern was his jaw, the decision to allow him to play without a thorough concussion assessment seems questionable.
Watt's return to the field was not immediate for the Steelers' next defensive drive, indicating possible lingering effects from the collision. His eventual return, while commendable for his resilience, casts a spotlight on what appears to be a lapse in the NFL's player safety protocols.
This incident not only raises concerns about Watt's immediate health but also reflects a broader issue within the NFL. The league's approach to player safety, particularly regarding head injuries, is once again under scrutiny.
As the debate around the NFL's concussion protocol continues, this event stands as a stark reminder of the need for stringent safety measures in the high-impact world of professional football.