Donald Trump rails on ‘new and very much softer’ NFL concussion protocol

Donald TrumpEvan Vucci/AP

Donald Trump on Wednesday took a shot at the NFL for its new and “very much softer” rules during a campaign rally in Lakeland, Florida.

During the mid-afternoon, outdoor rally, a woman in the audience apparently fainted and was helped out of the crowd. Minutes later, she returned.

Trump, rejuvenated upon seeing her, drew a parallel to the NFL’s concussion protocol.

“That woman was out cold, and now she’s coming back,” Trump said. “See? We don’t go by these new and very much softer NFL rules. Concussion: Oop, oop! Got a little ding on the head. Nope, you can’t play for the rest of the season. Our people are tough.”

Taking shots at the NFL has become something of a Trump speech staple. The NFL, like the country, is in decline, Trump says.

In January, Trump criticized the league more thoroughly for cracking down on helmet-to-helmet hits.

“You used to see these tackles and it was incredible to watch. Now tackle — head-on-head tackle — 15-yard penalty,” Trump said. “We’re going soft, just like the NFL, we’re going soft.”

He added: “It’s a Sunday, who the hell wants to watch these crummy games?”

Trump is right about that: NFL ratings are down this season, though he almost certainly has something to do with it — the first two presidential debates were held during Sunday and Monday night football games.

The vast majority of NFL players who suffer concussions, however, do not sit out the rest of the season. Many, including Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, are not even properly treated for head injuries and wind up staying in the game.


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