Ex-Bucs Coach Sounds Off on Controversial Injury

Cameron Brate

Getty Bucs tight end Cameron Brate sustained a concussion in the Buccaneers' loss to Kansas City.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and current NBC Sports broadcaster Tony Dungy couldn’t stand seeing what happened to Cameron Brate in Week 4.

Brate slammed into Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin amid a catch in the first quarter of the Bucs’ 41-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, October 2. After Brate laid on the field, he returned to action shortly after before the team ruled him out in the second half due to a concussion.

“Broken system,” Dungy tweeted. “I was on the sideline very close to Brate-obvious he had his bell rung. There’s a league appointed spotter in the press box who should stop play & alert the referee. Brate shouldn’t have been allowed to return until after an evaluation. Why didn’t that happen?”

The Bucs’ handling of Brate became the latest of ongoing concussion concerns around the NFL. It started on September 29 when Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa sustained head and neck injuries after a quick return from a previous concussion. NFL teams benched “at least a dozen players” on Sunday due to concussions according to Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson.

Both the NFL and NFLPA will make changes to current concussion protocols “in the coming days” per a joint statement released on October 1. Also in response to increased concussion concerns, the NFLPA fired the medical consultant who cleared Tagovailoa to play against Cincinnati in Week 4.

Brate ‘Complained of Shoulder Discomfort First’

Greg Auman of The Athletic noted that Brate walked off the field “on his own” but “not fast enough to avoid a 12-men-on-the-field penalty” on Sunday. Auman added that Brate “looked OK” when he returned to the field, and quarterback Tom Brady threw to him once.

“He went on the sideline. He complained of shoulder discomfort, nothing about his head,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said on Monday, October 3. “He was checked out three times. You just say, ‘Give him a minute.’ Nothing came up. He went back in until the end of the half. At halftime, he started having symptoms, but they were delayed. He started complaining about that. We tested him, he’s in the protocol, and we kept him out the rest of the game.”


“It’s always important for players to speak up,” Bowles said. “It’s important for us to see it as well. Obviously, we see a hard hit, somebody upside the head, you want to take a look at it.”

“Some things you don’t see as it’s anywhere around this area right here [points to the collarbone area] that may have delayed reaction with a knee-jerk thing,” Bowles added. “So player safety’s important for us in this league. We’re not trying to play anybody that’s hurt.”

Bowles: ‘Nobody’s Really Checking Off Your Head’

NBC Sports reporter Melissa Stark said during the broadcast that Brate had a “two-minute chat conversation with the [Bucs] head athletic trainer and team doctor” before returning to the field. Bowles explained a second time that Brate wasn’t examined for a concussion initially because “he complained about his shoulder, not his head”.

Cameron Brate

GettyCameron Brate warms up before a Week 4 game against Kansas City.

“You can’t see a neurologist or talk about concussions if you only complained about the shoulder,” Bowles said. “It came up at halftime where he started to have symptoms about his head. So when you say, ‘Your shoulder’s hurting, you need a second for your shoulder.'”

“Nobody’s really checking off your head,” Bowles added. “And then you go back in, you find out at halftime that you have symptoms in your head, then you go, ‘Concussion, concussion protocol.’ That’s all you can do, really.”

Read More