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Ben Roethlisberger Behavioral Evaluation: Could Concussions Factor In?

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 27:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on December 27, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)
Karl Walter/Getty Images
H2H Helmet2Helmet.netContributor IApril 26, 2010

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has brought concussion history into question in regards to Roethlisberger’s upcoming behavioral evaluation. To date, Ben Roethlisberger has suffered three on field concussions and 242 sacks. He also sustained severe head trauma as the result of his infamous June, 2006, motorcycle accident.

The NFL Players Association has been working for years to bring traumatic brain injuries to light. The explosive repetitive collisions NFL players experience, even without documented concussions, can cause trauma to the brain that might go undetected for years.

The last year has brought much of these findings to the foreground, culminating in a $1 Million donation by the NFL to Boston University last week. The donation will go towards research of CTE, a degenerative brain disorder more commonly known as “punch drunk syndrome.”

In the case of Roethlisberger, it’s absolutely within reason to believe that his repetitive head trauma has affected his ability reason and make decisions.

“It’s conceivable to think that there is a possibility that those concussions have led to some behavioral issues. The question I pose is simple: Can someone with several chronic or repetitive head injuries later display behavior that is socially undesirable? It’s certainly possible, but we won’t know that unless there is a proper evaluation, then work-up and treatment plan. It would be medically negligent not to include these sorts of tests as a part of this disciplinary process,” explains forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht.

Any medical findings of the sort would be available to the NFL, but would not be released to the public. This scenario would put the NFL in uncharted waters. They would have an active marquee player who displays inappropriate social tendencies as a direct result of work related injuries.

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