Yesterday of course Lebron took a wicked shoulder to the jaw from Tatum, after which he knelt on the floor for a minute, gathered himself, and them went directly into the locker room. ABC showed that he was clearly walking slowly and gingerly. Then, a few minutes later, he was back in the game.
I wasn't surprised that Lebron came back into the game. But what was surprising was the total lack of the word "concussion" used by the broadcast team. This morning I also haven't heard anyone mention this. The official story is that Lebron suffered a "neck strain", but I haven't heard any more detail than that.
Here is the text from the NBA's official summary of its concussion protocol:
Concussion Evaluation. If a player is suspected of having a concussion, or exhibits the signs or symptoms of concussion, he will be removed from participation by either a team physician or the playerís team athletic trainer and undergo evaluation in a quiet, distraction-free environment conducive to conducting a neurological evaluation.
Serial Evaluation. If a player undergoes a concussion evaluation and is not diagnosed with a concussion, the teamís medical staff will continue to monitor the player, and the player will undergo at least another concussion evaluation by the medical staff prior to the teamís next game or practice or approximately 24 hours after the initial concussion evaluation (whichever is first). If the player subsequently develops any signs or symptoms of concussion, the player will immediately be removed from participation and will undergo a concussion evaluation.
Did Lebron James exhibit any signs of a concussion? Judging from the broadcast, I certainly suspected that he may have suffered one. Was he evaluated by a team doctor? Or was he just sent back on the floor with the diagnosis of a "neck strain" to avoid the possibility that he might miss the remainder of game 2 and beyond?
I'm not saying there's some grand conspiracy here, and even if there were, it wouldn't get close to what we know about the NFL's crooked approach. But this whole episode warrants some discussion and acknowledgement, at least.