NFL gets another wake-up call on concussions after Joe Burrow’s comments

Joe Burrow has played in games he doesn’t even remember.

And the Cincinnati Bengals star, aware of the risks and impact of concussions sustained while playing a brutal sport, considers it an occupational hazard.

“I mean, it’s scary,” Burrow said during an interview on the “Colin Cowherd Podcast” that aired Wednesday. “Everyone knows the profession we do. It is a dangerous game and that is always a possibility. And when it happens, you collectively hold your breath.”

Go ahead, shudder.

As the NFL and the NFL Players Association complete their review of the concussion suffered last Thursday by Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the protocols and procedures related to that setback and another injury sustained four days earlier, one of soccer’s brightest stars broached the subject in perhaps the same vein you’d consider a sprained ankle.

Please, even if Burrow seemed a little arrogant to you, don’t shoot the courier.

Burrow, 25, was giving us a more direct talk that talks about the culture of football — not just the NFL, but colleges, high schools and other levels of the sport — and the mindset that many have in pursuing their goals. athletic efforts.

Sure, it has to make the NFL nervous that one of its top talents is speaking openly about his concussion experiences — sheer honesty is one of the reasons Burrow has such an engaging presence. He’s not sure exactly how many concussions he’s had, but he feels lucky he didn’t have any injuries that caused him to lose a lot of time or leave him with a headache for weeks.

On the other hand, as more is learned about the long-term effects of concussions and the link to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) caused by repeated blows to the head, Burrow, and many others like him, may be harming themselves. themselves by downplaying apparent concussions that did not register as serious.

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It is the cumulative effect of concussions that have built up over time that can be so frightening.

“I’ve had a few when I don’t remember the second half or I don’t remember the whole game or I know I got a little dizzy at one point,” Burrow said. “But nothing lasting.”

I wish.

The kind of experience Burrow described is similar to those expressed by so many others over the years with increasing attention to the effects of concussions. A generation ago, high-profile quarterbacks Steve Young and Troy Aikman were real-life examples of taking risks as they produced Hall of Fame careers. Before that, All-Star wide receiver Al Toon and quarterback Roger Staubach illuminated the stakes.

Now that the league and players’ union are expected to modify concussion protocols this week and announce the results of the Tagovailoa case investigation (the quarterback was interviewed Tuesday), the topic of concussions is back on the table. be in the limelight.

This case may be another blow to the NFL’s precious image, but it is also, no pun intended, a “wake-up call” that should remind the league, and especially the people who are entrusted with the power to make a difference: take out players, star players from games if necessary, who can’t be comfortable (or careless) when it comes to concussions.

The NFL has been proactive in recent years with mission-driven health and safety initiatives to get ahead of the game, including dozens of game rule changes. The existing protocols and workforce to address head injuries are a marked difference from what it used to be.

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Until Tagovailoa’s case, there hadn’t been a concussion controversy of this magnitude in the NFL for several years, which the league no doubt took as an indication that its efforts have been working.

Still, Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy derided the system as “broken” during a series of tweets this week inspired by the handling of Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate, who returned to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night after apparently suffering a concussion.

Dungy, like others who watched the game, believed it was obvious that Brate suffered a suspected head injury during a collision late in the second quarter, and he should have been examined for it.

However, the Bucs maintained that Brate did not show concussion symptoms until halftime. The tight end originally reported a shoulder injury, then returned to the game for the rest of the half.

Just as surprising was the conclusion reached by the NFL and the NFLPA, which operate jointly on the concussion front, that Brate was hit in the shoulder and not in the head.

Yes of course. That explains the concussion. And he explains why, as he seeks to overhaul the system, the league and union should heed the wake-up call.

This article originally appeared on the Cincinnati Enquirer: Joe Burrow’s concussion comments sound alarm bells for NFL culture once again

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