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Why Are NFL Players Like Jamaal Charles Still Not Taking Head Injuries Seriously?

Submitted by on October 23, 2014 – 1:18 pmNo Comment
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Last Sunday afternoon, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles took a hit—a very hard hit—from his former teammate Brandon Flowers, who is now a cornerback for the San Diego Chargers. As Charles dove headfirst into the end zone on a touchdown run, Flowers went to tackle him and the two ended up getting into a collision. Flowers stayed down for several minutes after the hit and had to be tended to by the Chargers’ medical staff. And while Charles bounced right back up and worked his way off the field under his own power, he was not OK after the hit. In fact, during a radio interview with ESPN this week, he admitted that the hit may have caused him to sustain a head injury.

“It definitely hurt,” he said. “It’s like, I woke up—I mean, like, a couple plays later, I was seeing light bulbs, like, light bulbs around my eyes, and I was trying to catch them. But I was in the game so I was like, ‘Alright, let’s get the ball and run again.’”

Charles—who was forced to leave a playoff game last season due to a concussion—said that he does not believe he suffered an actual concussion. “I didn’t have a concussion, but it definitely was a hit that shocked me,” he said.

But he also admitted that he acted as if he didn’t have a concussion on the sideline because he didn’t want to have to go through the NFL‘s mandatory concussion protocol. That likely would have prevented him from playing for a few snaps and very well could have held him out of the rest of the game. And while that wouldn’t have been the best thing in the world for the Chiefs, it’s kind of amazing that Charles went so far out of his way to try and avoid taking care of his own health. The Chiefs trainer later told reporters that he did check Charles for a head injury. But during his interview with ESPN, Charles seemed to indicate that he skipped over the concussion tests.

Regardless of who is telling the truth here, we can’t help but wonder why players like Charles are still putting their careers and health at risk when it comes to head injuries. Seeing stars on the field is not a good thing, and the fact that Charles joked about it later sends the wrong message to other players, especially younger guys and kids who play football. It’s one thing to try and play through a twisted ankle or a sore shoulder. But a head injury? No. And stars like Charles have to lead the way by, at the very least, not joking about taking hard hits and see “light bulbs.” Otherwise, the NFL’s concussion problem is going to continue to plague the league and it’s only going to get worse.

Do you have a problem with Jamaal Charles joking about the hard hit he took on Sunday? Let us know.

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