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Robert Griffin III Sustains Concussion, Leaves Game After Third-Quarter Hit

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By ZAC BOYER | @ZacBoyer

(Originally posted 10/7/12, 3:15 p.m.; Updated 10/7/12, 5:34 p.m.)

LANDOVER, Md. – Robert Griffin III was diagnosed with a concussion after he took a hard hit in the third quarter of the Washington Redskins’ 24-17 loss to Atlanta at FedEx Field on Sunday.

Griffin III

Griffin “wasn’t really sure what quarter it was [or] what the score was” when he was attended to by the team’s athletic trainers, according to head coach Mike Shanahan. He was escorted to a dark room to ensure his well-being before being led to the locker room, where he was given a series of concussion tests.

Team spokesman Tony Wyllie said the tests were administered by an independent neurologist, which is standard procedure, and he was cleared to leave the stadium. No further tests were scheduled for Sunday, and Griffin will undergo additional examination at Redskins Park on Monday morning.

Griffin was not in the locker room after the game, when reporters were permitted to enter, though team policy forbids players who are experiencing symptoms of a concussion to speak to the media.

The rookie quarterback was scrambling to his right on third-and-goal from the Falcons’ 3-yard line when he was hit simultaneously by Atlanta linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux.

Weatherspoon’s right shoulder appeared to hit Griffin’s head, which then bounced off Babineaux’s back as he dove to make the tackle. The quarterback stayed down on the field before being escorted to the sidelines, then was taken from the dark room to the locker room after approximately five minutes.

“He was trying to get outside the pocket and make a play for his team,” Babineaux said. “Me and Spoon hit him, and I couldn’t see what exactly happened. I didn’t feel anything at all. I tackled him low, and Spoon cleaned it up. Unfortunately, he had to leave the game.”

Weatherspoon said he didn’t believe it was an illegal hit – “I’m not that kind of guy,” he said – and said Griffin even praised him for the play as he walked off the field.

“Most quarterbacks would have run out of bounds, but he’s a tough guy,” Weatherspoon said. “He was fighting, and I commend him for it.”

Concussion tests typically check an individual’s balance and memory, and any deviation from normal symptoms can signal evidence of a concussion. Before returning to any athletic activity, league policy mandates Griffin pass a baseline test and be cleared by a neurologist.

Griffin was also treated for a laceration on his chin, according to Wyllie. Requests to speak to medical personnel regarding Griffin’s condition were denied.

The quarterback left the game with six minutes remaining in the third quarter and the score tied at 7-7, though Billy Cundiff made a 23-yard field goal on the ensuing play. Griffin finished 10-for-15 for 91 yards and ran once for seven yards; the scramble on which he was injured was officially labeled a sack by Weatherspoon.

Kirk Cousins, the Redskins’ other rookie quarterback, entered the game on the next offensive series. He finished 5-for-9 for 111 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown throw to Santana Moss, but finished with two consecutive interceptions in his debut.

Rex Grossman, who was Washington’s starter for much of last season, has been the third quarterback and has not been among the players who dressed for the game.

Free Lance-Star sports editor Steve DeShazo contributed to this report.