As Football Sunday played out yesterday there was more attention on the head injury issue; naturally because the NFL set in motion – if only through reinforcement – a system to get players off the field in cases of overt signs. The concern for head injury actually began two plays in, in New Orleans.
Tracy Porter collided with receiver Mike Williams and was obviously stunned and unsteady. Porter took a knee for a brief second before he crumpled to the ground where he was attended to; spine board and med evac later Porter was released from an area hospital (BTW they are listing this as a “neck” injury).
Not long after that, Dustin Keller of the Jets jumped in the air and landed on his back/head. The officials did a good job of summonsing the med staff to Keller. Keller was subsequently removed evaluated on the sideline and locker room, where it was determined that he did not suffer a concussion. In an extremely rare occurrence, the Jets medical staff answered questions from Mike Florio regarding the Keller process (you can click HERE to see all the answers);
1. Who examined Keller and what is the person’s title?
2. What tests were imposed?
3. Where did the evaluation occur?
4. When was the decision made that he would return?
5. Was there any suspicion that he’d suffered a concussion?
He felt “dizzy” immediately after the play but felt fine by the time he reached the sideline. He denied symptoms on sideline evaluation and passed a simple sideline questionnaire on the bench. Out of respect for the injury, we took him to the locker room to perform a thorough evaluation to be sure. We were concerned enough to perform the testing, but all signs and tests suggest that he did not have a concussion.
6. The was questionable to return with a “head” injury — what was the specific injury to his head?
He hit his head and was dizzy for several seconds. That is why we listed it as his head. He was questionable only during the time he was being evaluated. His symptoms cleared immediately. It happens to several players in every NFL game.
7. Was any testing conducted at halftime? If so, by whom and what were they?
8. Were further tests conducted after the game?
I could not put it any different than Florio did;
This is precisely the kind of transparency that is needed, if fans and the media are going to properly understand the manner in which teams decide whether a player has suffered a concussion. The fact that the release of this information is not required by the league’s injury-reporting rules makes the team’s decision to share the data even more admirable.
Still in the first half of the early games the Jets once again had an issue to handle, this time they were a bit less forthcoming about that incident. Marcus Dixon was absolutely CRUSHED by Fred Jackson on a peel back block. Although Dixon popped up, he did so very methodically and went straight to the Jets bench, where he looked very worse for wear. Video below certain to disappear, so see quickly;
In just first half of action in the first set of games there were 3 “head” incidents, which eclipsed the total “head” incidents from the entire Week 8 schedule.
From there it seems the spectacular concussions were going to be the norm as Rahim Moore of the Denver Broncos collided with his own teammate defending the first play in the Raiders/Broncos game. He grabbed his helmet and writhed in pain for some time. After Steve “The Greek” Antanopolis cleared the neck the team send out a tweet confirming that Moore suffered a concussion. How hard was that to evaluate him and say he was out with a concussion? Obviously to hard for the Pittsburgh Steelers…
About those Steelers; Hines Ward took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Ray Lewis (video seen HERE), however that wasn’t the worst part. When his head snapped back and drilled the ground it created a “dual” injury in a very short time period. Ward immediately exhibited the Fencing Response, then tried to get up but had no ability. Once he was OK to stand the entire field was asking for medical attention. Just looking at his eyes and wobbly stance made it perfectly clear he should not return and had a concussion, except… After taking his helmet the Steelers officially announced Ward had a “stinger”. Florio also sent an email questionnaire to the Steelers, but;
In response, the team opted to provide no information beyond Coach Tomlin’s post-game comments.
Hopefully, the league office will pose those same questions to the Steelers, and maybe a few more. Last year, the Steelers concealed a concussion that Ward had suffered during a Sunday night game, calling it a neck injury and keeping him on the sidelines for the balance of the contest. After the season, the NFL mandated that all concussed players be taken to the locker room for the balance of the game, based in part on the Steelers’ handling of Ward’s concussion.
The Steelers apparently have now crafted a new loophole based on the use of the term “concussion-like symptoms.”
At least they didn’t try to say that Ward had dirt on his face.
So there you have it the Sunday around the field, with the above injuries (minus Keller) added to the one ones we also found yesterday via the press – two in practice during the week – that makes 8 for the week, 4x all of last week.
No surprise, the Steeler’s have a top secret protocol. It is well known the medical staff is well acquainted with spinning medical diagonoses. If it were not secret then everybody who is a marquee player wouldn’t pass because there would be scrutiny.
I would love for the Steelers to release the protocol they used with Hines Ward since he was back fully participating in practice yesterday. I know there are quick healers, but really? Less than 3 days after that hit?
Is it really going to take a Second Impact death on the field before these kind of “games” with proper protocol are eliminated?