Tuesday, November 13, 2012
For Once I Agree With the NFLPA
It's not often that I agree with DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA. I'm not sure if I ever have. Today is a new day and possibly a first. I agree with Smith that Roger Goodell and the NFL needs to require that independent concussion specialist monitor head injuries on the sidelines. He doesn't want someone affiliated with the team being the one making the call.
We've seen some weird episodes unfold this year. Each time the NFL denies wrongdoing by the team hired doctors who are making those evaluations. I saw a game this year featuring Larry Fitzgerald. On two separate plays, his head was driven into the ground. Each time he shook it off, even though he looked groggy. He was attended to on the sideline and allowed to return. He played the whole game.
As a fan watching the game, I thought that it was ridiculous that he could return to the field of play. There seemed to be something wrong with that. I asked myself if Larry was receiving the right care.
Let's talk about Brady Quinn for a moment. During a game on October 28th, Quinn played through a concussion until the Kansas City Chiefs finally noticed. Quinn put his career on the line and went out onto the field, even though he was injured.
Players will try to find a way to circumvent being sidelined due to concussions. That's due to their competitive nature. I might be wrong but I feel that teams are eager to take the player's word for things. They can then say they asked the right questions and the guy said he was OK. Having someone hired by the team, doesn't allow for an independent evaluation. That's just my opinion. You can take it or leave it.
This past Sunday saw three quarterbacks leave the game with concussions. They were Jay Cutler, Alex Smith and Michael Vick. Alex Smith actually played through a concussion and threw a TD pass with blurred vision. As mentioned over and over again, there needs to be an independent concussion expert that evaluates players on the sideline.
Concussions are becoming an epidemic for NFL players. Something needs to be done to limit the damage done to the health of players facing concussions. I believe that every time a QB takes a hit to the head; he must be evaluated by an independent concussion expert when he returns to the sideline. He should be evaluated even if he doesn't seem to be hurt. The NFL needs to err on the side of caution. The NFL needs to the right thing to protect the health of their players.