NFL referees find themselves stuck in the middle of a lockout as they try and negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the league. Due to the lockout, the referees are not allowed to interact on a professional level with the league. This means there normal pre-training camp training sessions are on hold.
Last season, the NFL informed officials that they wanted them keeping more of an eye out for concussions. Unfortunately, the league did not provide much guidance beyond that. Given the current labor dispute the league cannot provide anything for the officials this offseason. This led to the NFL Players Association deciding to offer a health and safety seminar to discuss concussions.
The seminar was held yesterday, and led by the NFLPA's medical director, Dr. Thom Mayer. The NFLPA is based in Washington, DC and I had an opportunity to sit in on the session, as a sort of fly on the wall. What I witnessed was a frank and open discussion about concussions and how referees could help on the field.
There has been a ton of discussion about trying to make the game safer and prevent concussions, but treatment once a concussion has been suffered is just as important, if not more so. I put together a feature over at SB Nation breaking down my thoughts on what went on in the seminar, and what the referees can do to be the first line of defense in concussion treatment. Check it out when you get a minute and let me know what you think about the ideas that I discuss.