During the third quarter of the Seahawks’ game against the Cardinals on Thursday night, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson took a hard hit to the head from Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby. Dansby was flagged for the hit, and Wilson was sent to the sideline after the game’s referee Walt Anderson noticed that he looked a little woozy. He was instructed to undergo the NFL’s concussion test before checking himself back into the game.
But Wilson wasn’t gone from the game for very long. He did run over to the Seahawks’ sideline, and he did get under the medical tent to give the appearance that he was going to take the concussion test. But as soon as the Seahawks’ medical staff put the tent up to begin the evaluation, Wilson ran out of it and appeared to say, "I’m fine," as he did. He missed just one play before getting right back in the game—without ever taking the test that all NFL players are supposed to take when there’s a chance they may have sustained a concussion.
You can see Wilson’s brief pit stop on the Seahawks’ sideline here.
NBC’s Mike Tirico pointed out what Wilson did to those at home, and many of them wondered if what Wilson did was allowed. They also called him out for seemingly making a mockery of a test that is designed to protect players from taking part in games after suffering concussions.
Wilson is a guy who seems to take concussions seriously. At least, seriously enough to invest in a water company that manufactures a product that is supposed to, in theory, help players recover from concussions. And after the game, he tried to downplay what he did by saying that Anderson sending him to the sideline was just a misunderstanding in the first place.
"I was just trying to move my jaw. I was like, 'Ah, man, it stuck,'" Wilson said, according to ESPN.com. "I think I was kinda like laying down on the ground for a second just trying to get my jaw, and I think Walt thought maybe I was injured or something like that. I told him I was good, I was good, and he said, 'Come off the field.' Walt did a great job, first of all. He made the smartest decision. I was fine, though, 100 percent."
But if the NFL allows Wilson to slide for skipping out on his concussion test, they are going to be setting a dangerous precedent by allowing players to determine when they’re "fine." So we wouldn’t expect the league to allow Wilson to get off here without a fine or some kind of warning about checking out of a concussion test.