It was only a matter of time before this type of information was brought to the surface. Players targeting other players because of concussions. Heck this happens all the time with other injuries; on a Friday night somewhere, nearly every state you will find a player who comments to another to target another players ankle because it is wrapped.
This is a “gladiator sport” and one that almost cherishes such behavior; all part of the game. Yesterday it came to light that some of the New York Giants were specifically targeting the tragic figure of the 49ers, Kyle Williams, due to his history of concussions;
After the game, reporters crowded around the locker of Jacquian Williams, who’d forced the second fumble, hoping for an angle: Had the Giants noticed something about Kyle Williams’s technique, some weakness in the 49ers punt-return scheme? “Nah,” Williams said. “The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, was to take him outta the game.”
Devin Thomas, the reserve wide receiver who recovered both of Kyle Williams’s fumbles, was even more explicit. “He’s had a lot of concussions,” Thomas told the Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi. “We were just like, ‘We gotta put a hit on that guy.’ … [Giants reserve safety Tyler] Sash did a great job hitting him early and he looked kind of dazed when he got up. I feel like that made a difference and he coughed it up.”
Injuries are part of the game plan for all teams, usually their own, but sometimes scouting reports will indicate that a running back has a bum wrist, or a cornerback has a bum hamstring. This happens down to the high school level, and I have even heard youth football coaches make it a point to their players as well. It is part of the game.
With greater awareness and PROPER management of concussions this would not be such an issue, in my opinion. A fully recovered and cleared player should not have lingering effects, yes there is a possibility that a good clean hit can “take a guy out” but so could any hit on any player for any reason.
What this situation provides us is an opportunity to delve into the concussion awareness issue further. Were the comments insensitive? Perhaps to the general public, but not to those that understand sport. And if Williams did get “dazed”, and that did have an effect on his performance if he knew about it and made it aware to the team, maybe he wouldn’t have been the position he found himself in? It looked to me like a good football play and a casual mistake, all part of the game.