In Sunday’s game, Philadelphia Eagles player Stewart Bradley attempted a tackle that left him stumbling before he collapsed on the field. To an average fan, he appeared obviously hurt and impaired. But the team’s medical staff took him out of play for less than 3 minutes before allowing him back in the game.
It wasn’t until halftime, when he was officially diagnosed with a concussion, that Bradley’s brain and body were given a chance to rest.
According to an article in The New York Times, Eagles Coach Andy Reid and the Eagles’ medical staff all stated that they had not seen Bradley stagger and fall. (Makes you wonder exactly who is watching the players, other than the fans, of course.)
Interestingly, one of the excuses the medical staff gave was that:
…they were apparently tending to quarterback Kevin Kolb — who also was suspected of having a concussion, returned during the quarter, and then was found during halftime to have sustained a concussion.
So they didn’t catch Bradley’s concussion because they were treating Kolb…but Kolb was also returned to play because his concussion wasn’t diagnosed until halftime.
To an outside observer, it seems that the doctor who is able to diagnose concussion so easily during halftime should be made available throughout the game. There’s no safe amount of time a player can “play hurt” when the injury involves the brain. The NFL’s concussion poster ends with these lines: Work smart. Use your head, don’t lead with it. Help make our game safer. Other athletes are watching…
Hey, NFL: You’re right…we’re watching…and we don’t like what we saw on Sunday. Brain damage is forever.
To read the full New York Times article, click here: The Return of a Stumbling Eagle Raises Concerns