(Reuters) - The NFL's concussion protocol has been altered with late-season changes following recent incidents that have triggered investigations.
The changes were implemented last weekend, Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer, told ESPN.
Most notably, a central unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant (UNC) was stationed at the command center that has been used primarily for game-replay review, Sills said.
"We are constantly looking at the protocol and how it's applied and trying to get better," Sills said. "The process happens through the season."
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An injury to Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage on Dec. 10 as well as Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's concussion protocol misstep in Week 10 that resulted in a $100,000 fine for the franchise were two incidents that fueled the investigation.
Other notable changes in the new protocol were:
--Any sign of impact seizure will be considered the same as loss of consciousness, with the player being ruled out of the game.
--A referee who removes a player from the game for suspected head trauma must notify the medical staff.
--A player who exhibits gross motor instability or significant loss of balance must be taken to the locker room for evaluation if it is not diagnosed as an orthopedic injury.
--A player who is evaluated for a concussion must be re-evaluated within 24 hours, even if the player has an off day.
--A third UNC will be on site for the playoffs and the Super Bowl, in addition to the two already assigned to each regular-season game.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll)