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NFL won’t punish Dolphins for failing to follow concussion protocol for Matt Moore


Matt Moore was cleared to return to the game, despite being hit so hard he was bleeding from the mouth. (Charles Trainor Jr/Miami Herald via AP)
The Miami Dolphins will not be punished for failing to properly follow the NFL’s concussion protocol, according to a joint statement released by the league and its players’ association.

The team came under review following a Jan. 8 incident that saw Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore remain in the AFC first-round playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, despite taking a violent hit in the second quarter that caused Moore to bleed from his mouth.
In a statement released Wednesday, the NFL and NFLPA “determined that the protocol was not strictly followed,” but that because the team didn’t keep Moore in to gain a competitive advantage, the team would not be disciplined. The statement, which described concussion diagnosis and management as “a difficult and complex exercise,” did warn that another violation of the protocol “may result” in some form of punishment, including “fines assessed against the Club.”

The incident saw Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree lead with his helmet to tackle Moore, who was hit in the chin. The referees flagged Dupree for roughing the passer, while Moore remained on the ground for several minutes before being helped to the sidelines. There, Moore sat on the bench for just a few minutes while an unaffiliated neurological consultant and a Dolphins team physician evaluated him for concussion symptoms. The whole scenario spanned just one play before Moore returned to the field.

“The team doctor took appropriate steps to promptly and fully involve the Unaffiliated Neuro-trauma Consultant in the medical evaluation of the player and review of the video … but [together they] did not recognize that Mr. Moore presented a documented symptom, bleeding from the mouth, that required further evaluation in the locker room under the protocol,” the statement said. “It is important for us to ensure everyone understands and follows the Protocol and that we continue to reinforce its importance.”

The statement added that along with a letter of notification sent to the Dolphins on Tuesday, the league also sent letters to other teams that participated in the playoffs “reminding them” of the importance of following the league’s concussion protocol.

The Dolphins did not offer a public comment on the matter on Wednesday.

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