Austin Collie Debrief UPDATE #6

Upon tweeting about Collie’s 3rd concussion some confusion was abound due to his actual number of concussions.  Here is how I see it, and yes concussions SHOULD be black and white;

  • Collie was concussed on 11/07 at Philly
  • Collie sat out Week 10 game vs. Cincinnati
  • Collie returned in Week 11 vs. the Patriots, then was removed from the game due to “worsening symptoms” LINK
  • Collie was out Weeks 12-14
  • Collie returns Week 15 and again gets a concussion (Not his 2nd)

NFL “Policy” indicates that a player will not return from a concussion unless they pass all tests.  Therefore if Indianapolis followed the “policy” then Collie was cleared and passed all tests by Week 11, and his first concussion resolved.  The reports of more/worsening symptoms after 1st half of Pats game indicates that he MUST have sustained a second concussion.  Then upon returning this week that would have meant that he cleared all tests and AGAIN sustained a concussion, his THIRD.  Let me be clear here, you can only “aggravate” a concussion if you have not recovered from the first.  And a player SHOULD NOT be playing with an unresolved concussion, by “policy”.

UPDATE #3: Part of the “policy” is that in order for a player to be returned after a concussion they MUST be cleared by an independent physician, that physician must certify that the player has fully recovered and the concussion has RESOLVED.

The Colts already are spinning this one, but no matter how you look at it they either failed the “policy” or knowingly put him back into action with a concussion.  At the very least they misreported the second.  If he were returned in Week 11 and “aggravated” it then he was not properly handled the first time.

UPDATE #4: Had Collie been cleared before Week 11 then received his 2nd, then was out until this week and they called it his 3rd, then there would not be an issue here.  That would have been perfectly acceptable per “policy”, but the visor (see below) made this an issue to me.

The Indy media even made mention that perhaps @concussionblog was overreacting a bit.  Really?  How?  It is his THIRD concussion, even if it was only his first then the team did a disservice to him allowing him to play with symptoms not once but TWICE!!!

And the “new” shaded visor that he had today actually threw up more red flags, as it was loosely being reported that Collie was wearing that because he still had some light sensitivity.  He never wore the shaded visor prior to today, therefore he was still having symptoms, and should not have been cleared.

Now, I did not have the pads on, but from my seat on the couch, it looked as though the hit his head took today was a lot less than Week 9 and less than the hits he took versus the Patriots.  That would be a clear sign of the stacking effect of concussions, smaller and smaller trauma bringing on symptoms.  Not to mention after the concussion today he was left on the sidelines, with the troublesome lights (sans visor) and loud noises, not really a place a concussed individual should be.

I have seen that the Colts are saying Collie’s season is over…  Now who is overreacting?  Research and current guidelines suggest that if a player FULLY recovers from a concussion they can be cleared to play.  If they are preemptively ending his season as a safety precaution, then good, but they are about 2 weeks too late for that.  If they are cutting his season short because that is what they think is the correct management, then they need to reread the literature on that.

No matter how you slice this, the Colts and Collie have mishandled this and I for one will be interested in seeing how the NFL handles this specific case.  Looking at their website (link of latest concussion) they seem to think its his second.  The Concussion Blog will list this as his third, unless the Colts say they made a mistake with his first.

UPDATE: If in fact I am CLEARLY wrong about this one you can expect a full post about that as well…  I am not afraid to be wrong!

UPDATE #2: I also want to make this PERFECTLY CLEAR, if you think I am calling out someone, it is NOT the medical staff of the Indianapolis Colts, they are very good!

UPDATE #5: From Will Carroll;

It was a scary moment as Austin Collie laid on the turf — again — after another concussion. He’d scored two touchdowns earlier, but as he laid on the turf it was clear that no matter the score, it’s not worth losing someone’s life or well being. The crowd quieted. Both sidelines went to a knee and looked pained. Collie had come out wearing a dark visor, something he had not worn prior to the concussion, to help him avoid any light sensitivity, so the worry was already there that the symptoms could recur. Collie was able to walk off the field and with the increased focus on concussions, I’m sure everyone will be watching closely, but with Collie coming back twice for “big games” and showing increased recurrence risk both times, the NFL needs to take a hard look at how players are cleared. Is it a truly independent and objective process or can a team — or player — push a return? While I do not support time out guidelines, I hope that the NFL continues moving in the right direction in regards to concussion management.

UPDATE #6: Upon reviewing film of Collie, I did notice that he did have an eye shield in the Philly game, and to me it appeared to be shaded, but seemed a lighter tint than what he was wearing the past week. (12/21/10 5:35p)

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