Cowboys Medical Staff Under Fire over Dak Prescott Using Smelling Salts After Head Injury

Dak Prescott

In a bygone era, NFL players used smelling salts (ammonia gas) to help them return quickly from concussions. However, in recent years, the medical community has determined this to be reckless and NFL trainers/doctors have moved away from this treatment.

They feel the best treatment for concussions is giving the brain plenty of rest until all the symptoms subside, not giving it a kick-start with ammonia gas.
So when Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott was spotted using smelling salts on the Cowboys’ sideline Sunday in Washington after a hit to the head, this caused a stir.

In the the first half of the Cowboys’ loss to the Redskins, Prescott was leveled on the sideline by cornerback Greg Stroman, and CBS broadcaster Tony Romo immediately knew the QB was in trouble.

“That’s a concussion,” Romo said. “He’s going to be done. He doesn’t know where he is. Oh my gosh. Incredible effort by Dak. You can see he’s trying to get his bearings. I can remember that happened a few times when you are younger, just trying to kind of grasp it.”

Noted concussion expert Chris Nowinski of the Concussion Legacy Foundation was appalled at what followed on the Cowboys’ sideline.

It’s unclear why Nowinski blamed the whole league for the actions of one team. The NFL doesn’t condone the use of smelling salts for head injuries.

Prescott didn’t miss a play, and shortly after the apparent head injury, the QB threw a 49-yard TD pass to receiver Michael Gallup to tie the game at 7.

Prescott feels the whole matter is getting blown of proportion, and doesn’t think he suffered a concussion.

“I’ve been hit many times” Prescott said after the game. “It was a good, solid hit, but I was fine.”

Prescott said he was repeatedly checked by doctors on the sideline before re-entering the game.

“We have the best doctors,” Prescott said. “They called down for me to get checked again. I was fine.”

As for being spotted using smelling salts.

“I do that every game,” Prescott said.

What does outspoken Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones think of Prescott using smelling salts for a head injury? We might have to wait to find out because Jones cancelled his regular Tuesday radio appearance on 105.3 FM in Dallas.

Former NFL linebacker Nick Buoniconti is suffering from dementia, and his family sent Nowinski a photo of him using smelling salts on the bench from his playing days (1962-76).

Considering the amount of scrutiny the NFL receives over concussions these days, expect them to crack down on teams administering smelling salts to players with possible head injuries, whether they are concussed or not.

In 2018, an NFL player using smelling salts after a head injury might not be the best optic.

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