NFL Players: 85 Percent Would Play in Super Bowl Even with Concussion
New York, NY
About 85 percent of 320 NFL players said they would play in the Super Bowl even with a concussion, according a poll conducted by NFL Nation.
Among them is Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard, who never left Super Bowl XLVII despite suffering six broken ribs on the first play when he was still with the Baltimore Ravens.
Pollard reinjured his ribs after San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis fell on him.
"We are competitors. We want to go out there and entertain. That's all we are. We're entertainers. Guys want to go out there," said Pollard. "They don't want to let themselves down. They don't want to let their teammates down."
"They want to go out there and play, not thinking about, 'OK, what can this affect later on down the line?'" he added.
For Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, who just finished his 16th and probably final NFL season and never missed a game, the situation would depend on the severity of the concussion. Fletcher had a concussion during training camp in 2012 and missed a preseason game.
"If it's something where I'm having just a few symptoms and can hide it from the trainer, then yeah, I would do it," he said. "With some of them, you get in a game and you can't play," he said.
Meanwhile, Green Bay Packers rookie running back Eddie Lacy, who missed a game earlier this season with a concussion, said would not risk playing with such a "serious injury."
"It depends on if I was able to focus," Lacy said. "Then I would probably play or go back in. But that's a serious injury to play with, so I probably wouldn't chance it."
The NFL has made it tougher for players to return from a concussion with daily tests they must pass.
The protocol is one reason 60 percent of the players polled said the NFL is committed to player safety, with rules changes designed to eliminate hits on defenseless players.
"They took tremendous steps toward the future of this game as far as violent hits, as far as protecting defenseless players, as far as concussion protocol," Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "I'm proud of the way they handle concussions. I'm proud of the way the NFL is going."
However, Fletcher isn't sold on this notion, pointing to the withholding of information in the past regarding concussions.
"Some of it's more to protect themselves from lawsuits," he said. "A lot of that is just to make themselves look right from a public opinion standpoint. I don't know if they're truly committed to player safety."
Concussions and the NFL