By Matt Bowen of the National Football Post and Special to NFL Gridiron Gab
Concussions. We talk about them in the NFL like they are routine, almost part of the culture that drives this game, or drives this violence we watch every Sunday.
But, they are an issue. An issue that needs to be talked about from my point of view.
I’ve had concussions, most likely dating back to my high school days at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois when I was running the option. Sure, there is hitting in high school football, and it takes a step up in the college game; but in the National Football League, the helmet to helmet collisions happen every game—sometimes every practice—and they are going to end player’s careers, or worse, debilitate their lives.
I started getting headaches, mostly in the morning, during my career in the NFL. But, were they just headaches from stress, overwork, and the constant rattling of my brain inside my helmet? Or, and I hate to even imagine this, were they something worse? I was knocked unconscious when my Hawkeyes traveled to Tucson in college to take on Arizona. A knee to the side of the head and that was it—lights out.
I vomited the entire way home on the plane, but I was out there the next week in Champaign, making tackles until I couldn’t do it anymore in the fourth quarter. The headache became too extreme. What about the NFL? Every time you tackle an NFL running back in the hole, it is most likely the equivalent of being in a car accident—a head on car accident during rush hour. Stars form in between your eyes, your speech becomes slurred, and you wobble your way back to the huddle—hoping your brain resets itself before the next play.
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