This article is part of our Injury Analysis series.
Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp
The Rams pulled out a victory over the Seahawks in Week 5 despite playing the entire second half without their top two receivers. Both wideouts made early exits following head injuries, later diagnosed as concussions.
Cooks was injured following a helmet-to-helmet collision with Seattle safety Tedric Thompson. Cooks immediately went limp, fumbling the ball. If you watch the replay you will also notice his arms go rigid and extend outward. This is likely a display of the fencing response, a neurological motor reflex resulting from a head injury. This type of abnormal posturing is used as an indicator of head trauma and a clear sign that the affected athlete should be removed from competition.
Kupp's injury reportedly occurred near the end of the first half when his head struck the turf. He finished out the series but later self-reported symptoms to the Los Angeles training staff.
Just a day later, coach Sean McVay expressed optimism about his receivers' availability for their game this week against the Broncos. He said both appeared symptom-free and would continue to progress in the league's mandated protocol. While this is encouraging, both receivers have a long way to go before they can play, especially Cooks.
When a concussion occurs, the injured individual is placed in the return-to-play protocol. The first step is completed when the player exhibits no symptoms while at rest. The athlete will then be allowed to sit for a neurocognitive test known as ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion