Outlining the NBA's concussion policy

An examination following Sunday's All-Star Game, revealed Kobe Bryant suffered a nasal fracture in the third quarter after a foul from Miami's Dwyane Wade. Tuesday, Bryant was also diagnosed with a concussion, and under the terms of the NBA's new protocol for concussions and other head injuries, Bryant will have to satisfy a strict set of criteria before being allowed back on the floor.

After speaking with a source familiar with the league's policy, here are few things to know:

  • As part of the policy, during the preseason every player in the NBA undergoes baseline neurological testing.

  • If a player is diagnosed with a concussion, he's no longer allowed to play until cleared in consultation with the NBA's director of the concussion program, Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan.

  • To gain clearance, a player must return to his symptom free neurological baseline, then complete a series of exertion tests, each growing in difficulty (from a stationary bike to jogging, to agility and individual basketball drills) remaining free of symptoms after each test.

  • There is no set amount of time that must pass between each exertion exercise. Testing is situation specific, and relies on the medical judgment of the doctors and other medical personnel involved.

Obviously this isn't an instant process, and it's one the NBA (and the Lakers, as I was told by a team spokesman) takes very seriously. Bryant will be re-evaluated Wednesday, but there's certainly a very good chance he misses that night's game against Minnesota.

More to come tomorrow following shootaround.