Tag Archives: spotters

Targeting Rule on Football Rules Committee’s Agenda; Medical Spotters Experimental Rule also to be Discussed

Greg Johnson, NCAA.org

Health and safety in football will lead the agenda when the NCAA Football Rules Committee meets this week.

The committee will discuss possible modifications to the instant replay/targeting rule and will review the experimental rule that allowed medical spotters in the press box during the 2015 season – to consider approving it permanently – during its meeting Feb. 9-11 in Orlando, Florida.

In 2014, the targeting rule was altered to allow the instant-replay official to confirm or overturn a targeting call made by an on-field official. If the replay official found that the targeting penalty should not have been called, the call was overturned, the 15-yard penalty removed and the player allowed to stay in the game.

Committee members plan to talk about whether instant-replay officials should have even more flexibility when it comes to judging whether a targeting foul occurred. Additionally, the committee will consider allowing the instant-replay official to stop the game and enforce a targeting foul that was not detected by the on-field officials.

Last season, conferences were allowed to have a medical observer in the press box monitor the game and alert team personnel when a player might have an injury that is not noticed by the on-field officials or team medical personnel. In the Big Ten and Southeastern conferences’ experiment, the medical observer sat in close proximity  to the instant-replay official and  was authorized to contact the referee  to stop the game so a player could be checked for a possible injury. Other conferences also experimented with using a medical observer and team medical personnel on the sideline in this role.

Other items on the Football Rules Committee agenda will include:

  • Reviewing rules regarding ineligible receivers downfield, focusing on the balance between offense and defense. Part of this effort will be to find ways to help officials call this rule more consistently. Currently, linemen are allowed to be 3 yards past the line of scrimmage.
  • Discussing whether a player who is running the football  and gives  himself up (e.g., slide) should be granted defenseless player protections.
  • Discussing whether computers/tablets may  be used on the sidelines for coaching purposes. Currently, electronic equipment is banned from the sidelines with the exception of devices that are allowed for health and safety purposes.


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NHL, NHLPA Bolster Concussion-evaluation Process, Amplifies Use of Spotters

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have amended the spotter program in the NHL Concussion Evaluation and Management Protocol to guarantee the inclusion of concussion spotters employed and trained by the League at every game in an attempt to further strengthen the program.

“The spotter program is not new, it has been in existence as part of our Concussion Protocol for some time now; the thing that is changing is how we are allowing clubs to deal with the responsibility,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. “By introducing League-employed-and-trained spotters, we are simply providing our clubs with another alternative to adequately and properly execute the spotter responsibility.”

As has been the case under the protocol, each team maintains the right to designate its own concussion spotter for each game. In such cases, the team’s concussion spotter will be considered the on-duty spotter for that game. However, the NHL has designated a network of people, two at each arena, to serve as League-designated spotters.

A team can elect to have the League-designated spotter serve as the on-duty spotter for any game. To do so, the supervisor of the NHL off-ice officials in the arena must be notified at least one hour prior to the game.

Otherwise, the League-designated spotter at that game will log incidents of players exhibiting one or more visible signs of a concussion, regardless of whether the player receives medical attention of any kind. The information logged by the League’s concussion spotters, regardless of whether they are on team duty for a game, must be sent back to the NHL by the first of each month.

The spotters in the League-designated network, who receive training from the League in how to identify signs of a concussion, were chosen from a list of NHL off-ice officials at each arena.

There will be one League-designated spotter at each game, and that spotter will not serve as an official in any other capacity for that game.

“Most clubs so far have indicated a preference to continue with a club-spotter approach, but certainly there will be situations where a club will opt to utilize the League spotter,” Daly said. “All of the designations must be made before each game so there is no confusion as to who will be performing the active-spotter duties in a particular game.”

Daly said the role of the spotter is to identify and flag incidents that have led to players on the ice demonstrating visible signs of a concussion.

The spotter, who is expected to sit in the press box, has a two-way radio in order to communicate what he or she has seen with the training staff on the bench to properly notify a team of a player demonstrating possible signs of a concussion.

Daly said the responsibilities of diagnosing concussions or medically determining if a player can return to play belong to the medical professionals employed by the team in question.

“Depending on the nature of what is reported to him, the trainer has the next call on whether the player needs to be removed for evaluation,” Daly said.

The process of logging visible signs of concussions and relaying that information back to the NHL has been put into place for this season to help the League understand what is being observed in a game and what is being flagged, Daly said.

“From that information, determinations can be made as to how the spotter program is functioning and whether it is doing what we designed it to do,” Daly said.

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