The Case Keenum Case: Why It Matters

Adam Schefter said it well on ESPN this morning “This is an abject failure,” in referring to this:

As you may have already have seen and heard about this incident in the St. Louis and Baltimore game yesterday I will not go through all the mechanics of what happened and why this was so utterly ridiculous.

What I would like to focus on with this post is why this matters.

As evidenced by Twitter there are many fans – I would hazard more than who tweeted – who could care less about this. The overriding theme is that the players are professionals and this is no big deal because they are paid to play and they know the risks.

I tend to agree with this, but only at the professional level, they are adults and have as much info as possible. However, in the moment of injury and the few seconds following it the player must be protected from themselves and from further injury. This is why the vaunted and much promoted concussion and injury surveillance protocols are in place.

If there are not people in place to make the decisions that a player cannot make of sound mind, in that moment, then why even have it. Although this is one failure and there have been cases of players being removed due to the policies in place; this one incident goes to show nothing is perfect, even in the face of a most obvious situation.

At some point the players are going to have to put their foot down and demand that the medical personnel take care of them; playing time and winning the game be damned.

This failure on a spectacular level also has ramifications beyond the NFL and even the sport of football.

Allowing Keenum to play, not even missing a snap, sends the wrong message to other players of the sport or sports that are not at the professional level. Can you imagine Continue reading

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Sunday Recap

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).

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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 Continue reading

How Does NFL Protocol Work? UPDATED

There have been examples of players seemingly being “dazed” by hits and going to the sideline, then returning to play a very short time later.  The most recent example is what happened yesterday in Washington as Mike Vick took a shot to the back of the head and then was motionless for a short time.  Only to rise rather “unsteadily” to be held up by players from both teams as those around him waived on medical attention for him.  You can see in the video below (certain to be pulled so see it quickly) at the 1:15 mark.

The official report was “dirt in the eye” is what caused him to be removed from the game for a short while.  Although it is tough to see through his visor (see sarcasm) while standing there, it appears dirt and grass was being removed from the outside of his helmet.  And this comment from LaRon Landry who tackled Vick on that play;

“I thought he was out myself, just figured, ‘OK, he’s out of there.’” Landry said. “But he was back in there, he’s a fighter.”

Vick has not been the only one, as Marques Colston of the Saints Continue reading

Vick RTP Debate

Clearly the decision to let Mike Vick play this week has come under some scrutiny from many sources.  I have been asked many times my thoughts on this issue as well; it is much more difficult to take a stance on something that really none of us know first hand.  That being said there is no reason anyone cannot give an opinion on the matter.

Barbara Barker of Newsday sought out two opinions; one from a former player and another from an authority in concussions;

“I’m going to be watching him to see how he responds after he gets hit,” said former Giants linebacker and Hall of Famer Harry Carson, who suffered multiple concussions in the course of his career and has been diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. “I’m sure he’ll go out there and do well, but if he doesn’t and gets hit the right way, there’s no telling what might happen.”

“Frankly, even from a fan’s perspective and even with someone as good as Michael Vick, I would have been happier to see them err on the side of caution,” Nowinski said. “Another concussion right now is the worst-case scenario. Michael Vick could be the Sidney Crosby of the NFL.”

I believe that there are more than Carson, Nowinski, and myself Continue reading

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.  Continue reading