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Greg Johnson | NCAA.com | July 16, 2015

NCAA approves experimental medical observers

The NCAA is moving forward with an experimental rule in football to allow medical observers to notify game officials when a player appears to have suffered a head/neck injury.

Officials now will be able to stop the game when notified to remove the player for medical evaluation. The rule, which was approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Thursday, takes effect for the 2015 season.

College Football Officiating, LLC endorsed the proposal, which originated from the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conferences in the interest of enhancing student-athlete safety care.

In the experiment, the medical observer may view the game from the instant-replay booth and utilize video monitors to enhance the tracking of a potentially injured player. If the medical observer suspects a player has a head/neck injury that has gone undetected by the on-field officials and medical staff, the observer will alert the instant-replay official, who will contact the referee to stop the game so the player can be removed and evaluated by the team’s medical staff.

In non-conference games, the visiting team can choose whether it wants to play the game using the experimental rule if the home team intends to use the provision.

Conferences are being asked to submit feedback to the NCAA Football Rules Committee at its 2016 meeting in February, at which time the committee could entertain a proposed permanent change to the rules.

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