Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu revealed today on the Dan Patrick Radio Show that he has lied in the past about concussion symptoms so that he’d could be cleared to stay on the field. Polamalu also said that he believes that he has had, eight or nine recorded concussions thus far over the course of his career.
“Yes, I have, for sure,” Polamalu said, when asked by Dan Patrick if he’s ever lied to get back on the field. “There’s so much built up about team camaraderie and sacrifice. Football is such a tough man’s game. … It would be no different than the guy who goes into the mines in West Virginia. It’s that kind of commitment you need to play football.”
“I wouldn’t say that I’ve had any major lies,” said Polamalu during his Wednesday interview. “Somebody may say, ‘Is your knee messed up?’ It may be kind of messed up, but you just kind of push yourself to be out there with your brothers. I wouldn’t say there are any major lies where I totally lied may way out of concussions. In fact, during concussions, if it’s serious enough, you can’t even be conscious enough to lie.”
Polamalu went on to say during his interview with Patrick that he that he thinks there is a difference between a player having his bell rung and having a concussion. “When you get your bell rung, they consider that a concussion,” said the Steelers safety. “I wouldn’t, If that is considered a concussion, I’d say any football player at least records 50 to 100 concussions a year.”
“I’ve had, I believe, eight or nine recorded concussions. We’ll have another conversation after I’m done playing football,” Polamalu added.
What Polamalu revealed to Patrick on Wednesday is not very surprising at all, but in light of all the lawsuits that the NFL is currently facing right now from retired players, coupled with what happened last year with Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, who was allowed to return to the game against the Steelers without be checked for a concussion, some changes are certainly on the way.
Not only are referees being trained to try to better recognize players who are showing concussion-like symptoms, I suspect stricter sideline protocols will be enforced in the near future as well. Perhaps every player in the near future will be forced to be checked by a league doctor following every practice and every game. Yes, that is extreme, but the league needs to better protect not only themselves, but the players as well.
What Polamalu said Wednesday to Patrick is the same thing that you would likely hear from every player in the NFL if hooked up to a lie detector machine. These players feel like they are letting their teammates down by not being on the field and they will do anything possible to get back out there. Even if it includes lying and putting themselves at risk of future health problems.