The incident happened late in the first quarter of Monday’s matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Parker caught a second-down pass from Mac Jones, and his head slammed to the turf when he was tackled. He was slow to stand up, and his knees buckled as he gathered himself to his feet. He appeared woozy once he stood up.
The Patriots hurried to line up for the ensuing first-down play as it wasn’t clear that Parker maintained control of the ball through the catch. Agholor lined up in the slot with Parker out wide to his left. He looked out at Parker, then began to frantically wave his arms in an apparent bid to call for a game stoppage.
Officials eventually stopped the clock, but for a Cardinals challenge of the catch.
A failure by the concussion spotter. DeVante Parker could not stand up straight after hitting the ground. Nelson Agholor took a knee and was flailing desperately to try to get the play stopped for Parker. pic.twitter.com/TtjfOqyEbH
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) December 13, 2022
During the break in play, Parker left the field for the Patriots locker room. The Patriots later announced that Parker was ruled out with a head injury. Officials upheld the ruling on the field of a catch.
Spotters apparently missed this one
The NFL employs expert spotters to identify when a player potentially sustains a head injury and updated its concussion protocols midseason to protect players who demonstrate motor instability after a blow to the head. The update was in response to Tua Tagovailoa‘s head injuries in consecutive weeks, the second of which left him hospitalized after a Week 4 collision against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tagovailoa returned to a Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills after demonstrating motor instability following a blow to his head.
The spotters apparently missed Parker’s head injury on Monday, but Agholor didn’t. Ultimately, a Cardinals challenge kept him from playing another snap and risking further injury.