The Pro Football Concussion Report

A Fan's Look at Head Injuries and the Concussion Crisis in Football

Hey . . . umm . . . that guy’s got a concussion.

Difference? Nothing. All 3 KO'd players got up and played.


Since the NFL concussion litigation began almost three years ago, we’ve heard over and over from various vested parties how difficult it is to diagnose a concussion: “science just isn’t there yet,” “the doctors are treating other players and didn’t see it,” “the players lie about it,” etc. Yet over and over, thanks to television, fans at home are easily able to out-diagnose the team medical staff, the head coach, the neurological consultant on the sideline, the eye-in-the sky concussion camera and the broadcast announcers along with their replays, spotters and earpieces. Somehow, in 2014 any yahoo at home with a TV set, cable and a DVR is able to watch a play, spot a KO’d player, and say “hey . . . umm . . . that guy’s got a concussion.” Better and faster than the NFL’s been able to do with 20 years of rheumatology committees (oops, i mean neurology committees, Paul Tagliabue) millions in university research, top team medical staffs, video cameras, all kinds of experts and even Tom Brady and Ray Lewis to tell us that they’re on top of it.

The July 19 World Cup match between Uruguay and England just saw the latest example of this ridiculous situation. In this case, the player was clearly knocked out, perhaps dead, but was able to regain consciousness, overrule all concerned parties and place himself back in the game. In this case at least, the peanut gallery was able to immediately get on Twitter and show off their medical and scientific superiority.


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How is this happening? How is it possible with all of the awareness, the safeguards, the concussion tests, the brain injury research grants – how is it possible that a knocked out player can get up, declare himself fit, and walk back onto the field. It’s not as clear with the World Cup who is the ultimate authority on who can walk on the field and play. But with the NFL, it’s pretty clear. It’s not the player, it’s not the head coach, it’s not the GM, it’s not Roger Goodell, and it’s certainly not the physician who’s private practice or hospital group is paying the team a million dollars a year to call him the official team doc. Of course not, it’s their boss, silly. It’s the billionaire in the box. It’s the guy who inherited the team from his mom, who inherited the team from her father. It’s the billionaire in the box who invented the “first single piece, deep draw rear step bumper face bar.”



These are the folks who decide who goes on the field. If Broncos owner Pat Bowlen says Wes Welker doesn’t return to play, then Wes Welker doesn’t return to play. The Supreme Court would have to overrule him. For now, the 32 owners (or 31, depending on if anyone can tell me who owns the Green Bay Packers and their share of the $9 billion dollars in revenue per year) don’t say much about concussions. That’s what they pay Roger Goodell $40 million dollars to do. And owners certainly don’t tell anyone NOT to play. Well, anyone good that is. Perhaps someday the Supreme Court will overrule them.


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