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NFL exec: Allowing Case Keenum to play with a concussion was 'a system failure across the board'

NFL exec: Allowing Case Keenum to play with a concussion was 'a system failure across the board'
Rams quarterback Case Keenum looks over his shoulder during a game against Baltimore on Nov. 22. (Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said Thursday that “there was a system failure across the board” when Rams quarterback Case Keenum was allowed to remain in a game last season after suffering a concussion.

"Everyone had some form of accountability," Vincent said during a conference call with reporters in advance of next week's NFL owners meeting in Florida.

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In the final minutes of a Week 11 game against the Baltimore Ravens, the back of Keenum’s head hit the ground when he was tackled in the backfield.

Keenum immediately grabbed his head and appeared wobbly as he got up from the turf. A member of the Rams' training staff came onto the field and spoke briefly to Keenum, but a spotter — an independent certified athletic trainer — did not stop play and Keenum was not examined by a team physician or unaffiliated neurological consultant.

Keenum threw an incomplete pass on the next play, and he was stripped of the ball on the play after that. He was sidelined the next two games because of the head injury.

The Rams were not disciplined for allowing Keenum to stay in the game.

Vincent said Thursday that the NFL is "very confident in our physicians and staffs." The league is not modifying the system but will "make sure that we are executing on those things and protocols that have been put in place," he said.

"The Case Keenum [situation] was unfortunate, but we all bear some accountability on that system failure that we cannot allow to happen," Vincent said.

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