Section 4Neutral Physician
The player must present himself for examination by a neutral physician in the Club city or the Club city closest to the player’s residence within twenty (20) days from the date of the filing of the grievance. This time period may be extended by mutual consent if the neutral physician is not available. Neither Club nor player may submit any medical records to the neutral physician, nor may the Club physician or player’s physician communicate with the neutral physician. The neutral physician will not become the treating physician nor will the neutral physician examination involve more than one office visit without the prior approval of both the NFLPA and Management Council. The neutral physician may not review any objective medical tests unless all parties mutually agree to provide such results. The neutral physician may not perform any diagnostic tests unless all parties consent. The neutral physician is required to submit to the parties a detailed medical report of his examination.
In cases in which the player alleges that he suffered a closed head injury or concussion with resulting cognitive deficit, somatic symptoms and/or other concussion symptoms, the player must present himself for cognitive functioning testing and/or other appropriate testing and examination by a neutral neuropsychologist in either the city nearest the player’s residence or the Club city. Absent medical limitations, the unavailability of the neuropsychologist or the unavailability of medical records, such testing and examination must occur within thirty (30) days from the date of the filing of the grievance. The neutral neuropsychologist will be provided with all medical records of closed head trauma and/or concussions including baseline testing, within the possession of Club and player. All other requirements and limitations set forth in this Article regarding the neutral physician process shall apply to such testing and examination except that if a neutral neuropsychologist’s examination spans multiple days, it will be considered one office visit. The neutral neuropsychologist must prepare and submit a detailed report regarding his examination and the player’s cognitive functioning and other symptoms, if any, of concussion or closed head injury affecting the player’s ability to return to play at the date of the examination. If the neutral neuropsychologist in his sole discretion determines that the player should be examined by another physician of appropriate specialization in order to complete his neutral physician report, the neuropsychologist shall have the authority to refer such player for such additional examination. In such circumstances, the report of the neutral neuropsychologist shall be designated as the neutral physician report and may incorporate any findings or opinion of the referral doctor.
In order to facilitate settlement of grievances, the parties periodically will consult with neutral physicians by telephone conference call to obtain preliminary opinions as to the length of time, if any, after their examinations before players would be physically able to perform contract services. The NFLPA will use its best efforts to make the neutral physicians in each Club city equally available to the players who file Injury Grievances.
The arbitrator will consider the neutral physician’s findings conclusive with regard to the physical condition of the player and the extent of an injury at the time of his examination by the neutral physician. The arbitrator will decide the dispute in light of this finding and such other issues or defenses which may have been properly submitted to him. In cases in which the player is alleging that he suffered a closed head injury or concussion with resulting cognitive deficit, somatic symptoms and/or other concussion symptoms the report of the neutral neuropsychologist shall be considered conclusive with regard to the player’s cognitive functioning and other objective findings as well as the extent of the injury at the time of the examination.