Early in the third quarter of Sunday’s throwdown with the New Orleans Saints, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton threw a scare into the hearts of the teal-clad fans of the undefeated Panthers. On one of his hammer-down runs toward the end zone, Newton collided with Saints linebacker Michael Mauti on his way out of bounds, and the helmet-to-helmet hit jarred Newton.
Newton, clearly dizzy, took a couple moments to compose himself, and remained in the game. Three plays later, he threw a touchdown to Ted Ginn Jr. Afterward, Newton went back to the Panthers’ locker room while Derek Anderson got loose on the Carolina sideline.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera confirmed reports that Newton was tested for a concussion by both the team doctor and an independent neurologist. Apparently finding no evidence of a concussion, the medical personnel allowed Newton to return to the game, and he would lead the Panthers to three more touchdowns.
After the game, Newton insisted that he was not suffering ill effects from the hit. “Hear me when I say I do not have a concussion,” Newton said. He indicated that the tests took place in the locker room because he needed to hit the restroom.
Given the increased sensitivity to both concussions and the lengths players go to in order to avoid removal from a game, this incident, where Newton stayed in the game, will raise a couple eyebrows … but likely nothing more.