Concussions & Professional Athletes

I was recently reading the comments by Maurice Jones – Drew regarding concussions and it caused me some pause. While I respect his abilities greatly as one of the NFL’s finest and toughest running backs I would differ with him on some of his points. Professional football athletes and the cumulative effects of the punishment they take wear tremendously on their bodies. There is a huge difference in walking with a limp from an ankle sprain and not having sound cognitive brain function in life. My intent is not to pick apart his comments but he would benefit from doing a little further research on concussions to make more objective statements.

My concern is that what he says speaks volumes to the cultural change that needs to occur regarding concussions by younger athletes today. It will probably take generations for this really to change some of the attitudes that are prevalent within the coaching and athlete community. Athletic Trainers and medical professionals are faced with difficult decisions and yet more definitive measures are available to help guide decision making. I have had numerous parents and coaches to thank me for the concern for the welfare of their child who sustained a head injury. The responsibility is upon us to provide evidence based not antidotal or emotionally based criteria for return to play or diagnosis and management of head injuries.

There is a price and sacrifice to be made with sports participation and in anything in life there is the freedom to decide how great that price will be.

Full article below

From the Florida Times Union article of 12-29-11 it states “To Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the risk he puts his body and brain through by playing football is worth it. Last week, Jones-Drew told The Associated Press he would hide concussion symptoms in order to not be seen as a concussion-prone player. This week he stood by those comments and added that he thinks the NFL’s concern stems from lawsuits.“ The only reason they’re making a big deal about concussions right now is because the league is getting sued over it,” Jones-Drew said. “Before this, you never heard about it. A couple of years ago, you didn’t hear anything about it. Let’s not make something out of nothing. Yeah, people are getting messed up. That happens. Most of the time it’s because they’re not wearing mouth pieces and they’re probably doing some other stuff. …“Sometimes that means you have to pay the price.” Jones-Drew was asked if it would be worth it to not be able to walk in 30 years, or possibly even not be able to recognize his children.“ I would do anything for my kids,” Jones-Drew said. “If they’re happy, I’m happy. I think they would appreciate it. As long as my kids’ kids would be happy with what I did, that’s what this life is about: sacrifice. It’s not about you anymore, you know? I knew coming into this game.” Read more at

Published on December 29, 2011