Questions Arise About How Eagles Handle Concussions

| by Off The Record

On Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, the Philadelphia Eagles were unlucky enough to have two of their main players, Stewart Bradley and Kevin Kolb, leave the game with concussions.

Concussions are obviously bad news because they are the injuries that could most affect a player’s quality of life down the road. With all the attention and rules designed to protect players from concussions these days, there is a lot of scrutiny that comes with a guy returning to the field after suffering one.

Such happened to the Eagles yesterday. Bradley and Kolb each got concussions and then returned to the field only a few plays later.

Bradley was the more egregious of the two.

I don’t know anything about medicine, but I know enough to know that something is seriously wrong with that picture. Head coach Andy Reid said he didn’t see Bradley stumbling, and I have to think he’s telling the truth. As a head coach, he has a million things to worry about and he probably misses a lot of things that happen during a game.

Trainer Rick Burkholder, who is very well respected in the league, was tending to Kolb’s injury at that time, so he didn’t see it either.

But there wasn’t anyone that saw it? Do the Eagles have such a high power-distance culture within the organization that no one could speak up and say, “hey, uh coach? Dude was just stumbling around out there like a guy leaving a bar at 2:30 AM, there might be something really wrong.”?

But they didn’t. And the update on those two is that both of them failed their tests Monday morning and it’s safe to say that neither will be playing next week against the Detroit Lions. If for no other reason than for the Eagles to try to save face and not look like they are rushing anyone back.

“Part of this is they don’t watch the tape and you send them home and you do that as part of the program. We did that,” Reid said. “We evaluated them this morning and we sent them home.”

But, there are some other signs of the Eagles bringing guys back too soon.

Last year, Brian Westbrook suffered a concussion and got back on the field too soon. He suffered another concussion, but we were told that there was no relation between the first and the second. That might be true, but I have a hard time believing that the first had absolutely nothing to do with the second. That’s just my opinion.

And what about this quote from DeSean Jackson back in May regarding his 2009 concussion?

“I can remember we went up to New York (Week 14) – that was a huge game for us,” Jackson said. “The week before, [the Giants had] beaten Dallas and I didn’t play (at Atlanta) because I had a concussion. It was iffy if I’d come back and play. Our offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, said some things, trying to question my toughness. I was like, ‘Coach, I just got a concussion. This [is] my brain. If it’s anything else, my shoulder, whatever, I’m going to play.’”

That’s extremely troubling and probably the most damning. Here you have a player plainly saying that his offensive coordinator tried to push him back from a concussion.

We aren’t completely sure why there wasn’t more made of this, but we’d love to hear an official response to this quote.

Regarding Kolb and Bradley, we have no reason to believe that the coaches or the medical staff would have any interest in putting these guys back into a Week 1 game. If it was a do-or-die game or a playoff game, there might be more reason for doubts. But not Week 1. Why would they do that?

Regardless, people are going to raise questions relating to these concussions and that’s just the way it goes. If I’m the Eagles (and I’m not), I’d be overly, overly cautious moving forward.