Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate missed a few plays after suffering a heavy hit during the first half of the team’s “Sunday Night Football” game against the Chiefs, but then returned to the field. It wasn’t until the second half that he was ruled out under the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Brate ran into Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin after a 9-yard reception with just over 1:30 remaining in the half. He fell to the ground and was slow to get up. He worked his way back to the sideline to keep Tampa Bay from being charged a timeout for an injured player inside two minutes.
Brate returned to the game on the same drive and was targeted twice in the end zone before Tom Brady eventually found Mike Evans for the touchdown with 10 seconds left in the half
— Sports by Tampa Bay Times (@TBTimes_Sports) October 3, 2022
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When the teams returned for the second half, Brate was not on the field. Here’s the latest on why he was out.
Cameron Brate injury update
The Bucs announced at the start of the second half that Brate was ruled out under the league’s concussion protocol.
TE Cameron Brate is OUT for the remainder of the game (concussion protocol). pic.twitter.com/KVRGx4Mi43
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) October 3, 2022
Coach Todd Bowles said after the game that Brate remained in the protocol and that the team would see how he was doing. When asked why Brate returned to the game after taking the hit, Bowles said he couldn’t answer the question because he didn’t know for sure what happened.
“I didn’t exactly see what happened when he came back in the game so I’ve got to look at the film to see that,” Bowles said.
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The NFL is already in the midst of a controversy over a player returning after taking a heavy hit. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returned in the second half of his team’s Week 3 contest against the Bills after his head hit the turf hard. He stumbled trying to get back to the line of scrimmage, leading many to believe he was concussed.
Tagovailoa returned to play the second half after the scary-looking incident. The team maintained he had suffered a back injury. After the game, the NFL Players Association announced it was opening an investigation into the handling of Tagovailoa’s injury.
In the Dolphins’ Week 4 “Thursday Night Football” matchup against the Bengals, Tagovailoa was sacked hard and could not get off the field. He had to be removed on a stretcher and was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for evaluation. The team confirmed he had suffered a concussion.
ESPN reported Tagovailoa was evaluated for a concussion each day between the Sunday and Thursday games.
MORE: NFL concussion protocol, explained
The NFLPA fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant (UNC) who was involved in allowing Tagovailoa to return to the Bills game, citing “several mistakes” made by the doctor. Players can only return to play in a game after entering the concussion protocol if a team physician or UNC clears the player to return.
The NFL and NFLPA announced on Saturday that the sides agreed modifications to the concussion protocol were needed and they would be made in the coming days, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. One such change, per Schefter, is that if a player demonstrates any instability, he would not be allowed to return to the game.