At what venue are we today?
It’s a simple question that doesn’t always get a simple answer.
Especially in a collision sport and on a high-profile stage that is the National Football League.
As part of the process to diagnose a concussion in the NFL, and many other sports, there are the Maddocks questions.
The Maddocks questions are named after Dr. D.L. Maddocks, an Australian neurologist who developed the questions.
The Maddocks questions, sometimes modified depending on the circumstances, are on an extensive NFL concussion gameday checklist. But it’s the one the fans see the most because the test can be observed being administered on the sidelines.
For those who have always wondered what is being asked, here are the Maddocks questions:
1. At what venue are we today?
2. Which half is it now?
3. Who scored last in this match?
4. What did you play last week?
5. Did your team win the last game?
If you can’t answer all of these questions, or any version of these questions, there’s a problem.
“What you’re essentially testing is immediate recall and orientation,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. “It’s a way to standardize some information.”
Sills was named by Commissioner Roger Goodell in March.
Sills, a neurosurgeon who has specialized in the treatment of athletes, joined the NFL from Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he served as professor of neurological surgery, orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation. He is founder and co-director of the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center.
“That’s the general outline that they follow,” Sills said of the Maddocks questions. “Dr. Maddocks is still alive and still a part of a panel that meets every four years.”
The visual of the test seen by fans might be going away as more teams have medical tents on the sidelines.
“In the past, with the exam on the sideline, a player could look up at the scoreboard and see who they were playing against and what the score was,” Sills said. “Being inside the tent has brought more objectivity to the questions and answers.”