Although the awareness is much better, there still remains a stigma associated with concussions. This problem is not just an NFL problem, it is a sports problem; from the professional level all the way down to youth leagues. Nothing more clearly shows this than a comment from Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots last night.
After landing on his head and stumbling to his feet (watching the replay you can see a concerned official come racing in to check on him), he emphatically spiked the ball and resumed play. The initial reaction was very similar to other incidents where the results were concussions or even “dirt in the eye”. When asked about it “Gronk” laughed it off saying; “I remember the moment and everything… If I didn’t I still wouldn’t even say I didn’t. I’m trying to play this week.” (Also covered on ProFootballTalk)
This comment was on the post game interview on ESPN and really didn’t surprise me one bit. Players are conditioned to avoid situations where they will miss games, including knowing the “correct” answers when questioned. No one should be shocked by this, likewise no one should be stunned to know that kids the age of 13 and 14 have the same comments.
Heck I have heard kids tell me to my face this exact thing; then the wonder why we as medical professionals are very cautious about letting them return.
Next time Gronk simply say; “I was fine at the time but I will be checked out a bit later and tomorrow to make sure.” Set a positive example rather than give credence to the stigma.