Indiana Pacers player George Hill made headlines last week when he became the first NBA player to miss a post-season game because of the league’s new concussion rules, as The New York Times wrote.
The basketball league’s protocols for concussions were put in effect in September 2011, and mandate that a player must be pulled from a game if he shows symptoms of a concussion. The player must then pass a series of tests before being allowed back on the court again.
Hill was kept out of a Eastern Conference semifinal game against the New York Knicks Thursday. The Times wrote a story about the potential problem the Pacers would face if Hill, a key team member, was barred from playing in a game set for Saturday against the Knicks.
As it turned out, Hill supposedly passed all the NBA’s concussion tests and did play Saturday against the Knicks. And the Pacers won that game.
Hill suffered his concussion while playing Tuesday night, when he was struck in the head. According to The Times, Hill didn’t have any symptoms of a concussion and played out the game. It wasn’t until Wednesday night that he got a headache, and not until Thursday that he went to a team doctor, who diagnosed the concussion, The Times reported.
In order to be allowed to play again, Hill would have had to do “steps of increasing exertion: a stationary bicycle, jogging, agility work and noncontact team drills,” according to The Times. A player has to be OK, not exhibiting any symptoms, before going on to the next step.
If the player doesn’t pass muster, he has to go back to the prior step.
The Times said that NBA Commissioner David Stern made establishing concussion rules a priority after all the media reports about head injury and sports. I have to applaud him for being so active in trying to protect his players.