The last two days have provided some good “nuggets” to digest on about concussions and professional sports, particularly the NFL. The first is an article about Jets quarterback Greg McElroy and hiding his concussion for days;
The New York Jets’ coaching staff didn’t know Greg McElroy had been experiencing concussion symptoms this week.
His teammates did.
Apparently McElroy was confiding in some teammates following the game and no one blew the whistle. The fact that they did not and the QB didn’t either should not be shocking nor should it be deemed out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, the pressures of the job as well as previous examples – Alex Smith – mixed with the current misunderstanding of concussions in the NFL make this a common occurrence.
Yes, there are more players speaking up, but they are the starters and established players; for the most part they are given plenty of time to heal, however the back-ups and “tweener” guys are not so fortunate. In a very cut throat business identifying an injury can mean the end of your employment, and in the case of McElroy it most likely meant he will not get another shot at the starting QB position in New York.
Inside that article you can see the “warrior mentality” that players have about such injury, when Matt Slauson divulged his recent concussion history;
Slauson revealed to ESPNNewYork.com that he, like McElroy, had a concussion in either 2010 or 2011 that he didn’t report to the Jets, and another in his senior season at Nebraska. Of the more recent concussion, Slauson said he got through it on his own.
“I didn’t feel like it warranted (being reported),” Slauson said. “I was in bad shape, but I could focus on my plays. I figured I’d pop a couple of Aspirin and be fine.”
Also out of New York, wide receiver Victor Cruz stated that he would hide a concussion;
“If it was me, I’d probably fake it,” Giants receiver Victor Cruz said when I asked if he would act as if he weren’t hurt if he suffered a concussion. “I’d want to get back in there and get a chance to make some plays for my team. As a competitor, you know that in this profession, it doesn’t last forever. It’s in your best interest to stay out there.”
At least there are some other players out there that are looking out for one another in the Glauber article it was stated that Hakeem Nicks is the one who spotted the Hixon concussion in Week 2. However it is pretty much a code of silence amongst the players, even conspiring to hide concussions from overt detection.
A former player told me that discussions were had between teammates in the locker room on how to “game” the injury;
If we saw someone struggling we would tell them that their leg or shoulder, was hurt so they could tell the trainer when they got out there. That would buy enough time to clear our heads and get back in there.
What he was referring to is when a teammate goes down, and the players obviously know a concussion has occurred they tell the injured person some other injury so, if they cannot remember their name at that given time, they can grab the new “ailment” and tell the medical staff it is something different from the head.
Folks, this happens all the time – hiding concussions. It happens all the way down to the high school level, I even get the once or twice a year kid telling me that so-in-so hid a concussion from me. However this happens WAY MORE OFTEN in the NFL where livelihoods are on the line as well as the “warrior mentality”.
All of that being said, when looking at the concussion numbers each week understand that there are more out there – most likely being hidden.