Kris Dielman Incident

29 Oct

Mike Florio has been hot on the concussion subject from the beginning of the season, pointing out potential flaws and “double-standards” that have presented themselves.  As we mentioned in the Week 7 Report, Kris Dielman of the Chargers sustained a blow that showed OVERT signs of a brain injury and he continued to play.  Not only that on the plane flight home he encountered a grand mal seizure, another very serious sign of brain injury.

Apparently the league looks into all injuries, but this one will garner a much different set of eyes; the circumstances surrounding the concussion (diagnosed AFTER the game) will be scrutinized;

Far more troubling than the fact that Dielman suffered a seizure on the flight home from New York after a loss to the Jets is the fact that Dielman exhibited enough signs of wooziness and disorientation to mandate an immediate evaluation.

For those of you who have the game stored on a DVR or access to NFL.com’s Game Rewind service, fast forward to 12:30 of the fourth quarter.  On that play, Dielman pulls from his left guard position toward the right side of the line, dropping his head to block Jets linebacker Calvin Pace.  Dielman then reels away from the block, takes several steps, and lands on the ground.  He stumbles to his feet, and Jim Nantz of CBS points out that Dielman is “a little shaky and wobbly.”

You know the rest of the story from here.  The typical coach speak after the event by Norv Turner not only made me cringe, but Florio also seems to think the same thing;

Turner, with all due respect, is wrong.  And here’s why.  The CBS cameras showed that Dielman was wobbling and disoriented, even though he successfully pulled himself together, as players who don’t want to exit games often do.  That should have been enough reason to remove him from the field and evaluate him.

But there’s no system for making that happen, even though there should be.  The league, if truly serious about the problem of concussions, must have a safety official in the replay booth, scanning the field, the sidelines, the replays, and all other available evidence for signs that any player may have suffered a head injury.  The safety official should then buzz down to an independent neurologist, who will remove the player from action and keep him out until the player is cleared.

We invite the NFL or anyone else to advance a persuasive argument against this approach.  We have a feeling that we’ll be waiting for a while.

Florio is EXACTLY right, there needs to be a better mechanism.  In high school the officials have some “skin” in the game too; if it were a Friday night and Umpire saw this he has an obligation to remove the player from the field for evaluation.  In the same breath, if this were to happen in high school or lower there would be serious “heads rolling” and people that would be looking at potential law suits.

One thing is for sure, I have been pointing this out for the past 14 months, and will continue to put this type of information out there.  It is very ashuring that someone with the “clout” of Mike Florio is also taking up the position we have been stating.  If you have any pull Mike I will volunteer my services to sit in that booth and look for instances of this occurring (also Athletic Trainers can help with evaluation as well), to the best of my ability.  What players and others want to dismiss is that concussions are not an observational injury, and you can play through them.

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One Response to “Kris Dielman Incident”

  1. Joe Bloggs October 29, 2011 at 11:31 #

    It is clear neither the NFL or the NFLPA are concerned with concussion. Both are concerned with the appearance of concern. Dielman was needed on the field so he remained on the field. The NFL claims there is no need for independent medical staff because it would be a waste of time. Sure, it means the league would lose control of the meat.

    Does anyone really believe that an independent neurologist, neuropyschologist and ATC would have let Michael Vick back on the field a few weeks ago. Of course not. Nonetheless, he cleared ImPact so he can play. I have grave doubts independent neuropsychs using a test not owned by members of the failed NFL concussion committee, Maroon and Lovell, would have passed him. It is astonsihing that unusual coincidence that marquee players always seem to clear before the next game unless they have a recurrent injury.

    The NFL and NFLPA are concerned is limiting liability. One only needs to look at the statements of NFL litigation attorney stating a defense that football dangerous and players new it. The problem is that even arm chair observes can identify likely brain injuries weekly and the medical staff who, in most cases, are liable for malpractice as agents of their teams are unwilling to admit that this is either beyond their ability or unable to stand up for both the immediate and long-term health of the players.

    The owners may soon realize that the damage of long-term assets, the marquee players, is hurting the bottom line. Hopefully, the owners will through the medical advisors and team doctors under the bus and get real.

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