Gronkowski undergoes NFL’s concussion protocol after hard hit in AFC game

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (WHDH) – Rob Gronkowski was noticeably absent from the second half of Sunday’s AFC Championship game after a hard hit.

The tight end left the game just 90 seconds before halftime after Jaguars safety Barry Church delivered a helmet to helmet hit. Church was called for unnecessary roughness.

Dazed by the play, Gronkowski was immediately taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Under the NFL’s new concussion protocol rules, players must be taken to the locker room if they show signs of a concussion. The concussion protocol calls first for rest. Gronkowski will then need to be cleared by the Patriots team physician and an independent neurological consultant with an expertise in concussions.

Dr. Robert Cantu, the nation’s leading expert on concussions and co-founder of the CTE Center at the Boston University School of Medicine, sat down with 7News Monday to review the huge hit. Cantu said although he is not Gronk’s doctor, from everything he has seen, the tight end suffered a concussion.

Concussion symptoms can include everything from headaches to dizziness, light headaches and sensitivity to light and noise, according to Cantu.

While he expects Coach Bill Belichick to keep Gronkowski’s injury under wraps, Cantu said fans can still feel optimistic that the tight end will be ready by the time the Super Bowl kicks off.

Patriots fans leaving Sunday’s game had faith. “I hope he’s ready for the Super Bowl – two weeks – as long as he’s ready for the Super Bowl, that’s all that matters,” one fan told 7News.

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