Sporting Jules, presumably from Colorado was watching the Broncos/Bills preseason game last night and had some immediate observations on a hit that was penalized. Rookie safety Rahim Moore of the Broncos hit wide receiver Donald Jones on the sideline that resulted in a flag. Jules wrote about it on her blog;
By “hit/tackled,” I could have said “helmet-to-helmet hit” or “unbelievably illegal shot to the head,” and I wouldn’t have been wrong.
Two things bothered me greatly in this play’s immediate aftermath:
- Despite the fact that Jones fell to the ground with his arms in a stiff posture and his helmet partially knocked off by the hit, local Broncos announcers never ever uttered the word “concussion.” Instead, several minutes later, as he was helped to his feet and over to the bench, the announcers actually were relieved and said that he appeared to be alright. To not even discuss the possibility of a concussion at that moment was a lack of either journalistic integrity (in an effort to not make the Broncos player look like a bad guy) or simply lack of knowledge on what a player looks like right as they sustain a concussion.
- The group of people I was watching the game with included casual football fans and serious hardcore fanatics. I appeared to be the only one who thought that Jones had a concussion. Everyone else said he was “stunned,” or “just got his bell rung.” When I explained that a guy having his bell rung WAS a concussion, there still wasn’t much agreement. I was actually pretty surprised by the lack of suspicion that Jones was concussed. When Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton was hit in the head during the Stanley Cup playoffs, his posture immediately post-hit was fairly similar to Jones’ in this case. Horton was diagnosed with a severe concussion.
These are two great observations by Jules, the education may be slowly getting through to coaches, kids and parents however, it is still lacking in the general population and unbelievably within the broadcasting arena. Lets take her first point above, obvious signs of a head injury/concussion. The posture she mentions is the Fencing Response and there is a wonderful photo from the Denver Post and John Leyba of this. (To whomever makes decisions on photos, PLEASE I am using this as an education tool, I am not making any money off this, please allow me to use it.)
Jones has his forearms flexed, seen by the muscle tension and clenched fist, this is the Fencing Response, which is becoming one of the primary indicators of brain trauma. Also look at the helmet of Jones, it has been displaced indicating that there was some force to the head region as well. Jones was on the field for a period of time and reports had him being “out” before returning to his feet.
Perhaps everyone needs to start learning more about this injury, I can tell you that 810 followers know about this injury, there are tons of them that identify them as it happens in a game. Also beat writers for teams have learned much more about this injury, case in point is the number of concussions found as of today, 22, versus 8 all of last preseason.
Remember that even if this injury occurs every player can come back to a normal career, ONLY IF IT IS MANAGED/TREATED CORRECTLY AND PREVIOUS HEAD INJURIES HAVE BEEN MANAGED CORRECTLY. A concussion is just an injury, but it is an injury to the brain and just because we cannot “see” it does not mean it’s OK. The problem is not concussion, the problem is the management of concussion, PERIOD!