NFL Players Willing To Hide Concussions To Continue Playing, Study Says

Brendan O'HareContributor IDecember 26, 2011

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 24:  Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 24, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Well, here is a bit of interesting information: According to the Associated Press, it appears that professional football players are more inclined to hide their concussions, at least says a small sample size.

Out of a survey of 44 players, 23 said they would hide their concussion to stay in the game. Obviously, this is pretty shocking, but I am not sure if it is really surprising. Look at what Maurice Jones-Drew had to say:

“The bottom line is: You have to be able to put food on the table,” Jones-Drew said.  “No one’s going to sign or want a guy who can’t stay healthy.  I know there will be a day when I’m going to have trouble walking.  I realize that.  But this is what I signed up for.  Injuries are part of the game. If you don’t want to get hit, then you shouldn’t be playing.”

That's a really interesting thing to say, and kind of goes against what the former NFL players who are currently suing the NFL are going by. They claim the NFL withheld information about the severity of concussions, and that negligence has followed them into retirement.

The problem now is, how were the NFL teams supposed to treat the players in the first place if they just said everything was all right?

The NFL needs league-employed, non-biased doctors on the sideline, and that's pretty obvious. Every concussion that was sustained by a player who "hid it" was definitely seen by somebody on their sideline, and the person who saw it refused to act on it because the delirious player mumbled something along the lines of "I'm good." The blame falls on both the players and the teams for that.

It also falls on the culture of the NFL, where its extreme machismo dominates. You don't come out when injured. Look at Jack Youngblood—he played in a Super Bowl with his fibula dangling off his leg.

The players feel a need to stay in and keep playing, because that's the way football has always been. The players think they need to do this, because otherwise they will be disrespecting the ridiculous He-Man culture of football, and simultaneously also not get paid.

The way football is run, from an economic standpoint, requires these players to risk their future health for short-term monetary gain. If the players keep quiet about their injuries, then no one will notice and life will go on without interruption.

Teams will cut the average player if they suffer an injury and won't face any real punishment in terms of payroll. Everyone is at fault here—the players, the teams and the league.

The concussion problem encompasses everyone involved with the NFL, and this needs to be stopped.