No matter how many concussion protocols the NFL implements, Aaron Rodgers says it’s the players who are the “biggest obstacle” for true reform in this matter.
Speaking with Bill Simmons on his new HBO show, “Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons,” Rodgers candidly discussed the NFL’s concussion problem.
“The biggest obstacle,” Rodgers said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “I think would be the mind-set of players….They watch every player. There’s one up in the booth, and we have a number of doctors on the sidelines watching concussions. The helmets and the pads are as safe as they can possibly get at this point, but the players feeling comfortable self-monitoring.”
Rodgers also delved into why the players have a hard time self-monitoring.
“When you’re competitive the last thing you want to do is come out of a game, regardless of what kind of injury it is — whether it’s an ankle, a knee, a rib or a head injury,” Rodgers told Simmons. “You know that the head injury is obviously more dangerous, but it’s that mindset of wanting to play through those things and until that mindset changes, there’s going to be guys like Calvin who come out and say, ‘Yeah, I played through a lot of concussions.’”
The Green Bay Packers quarterback makes quite the salient point.
Just this past couple of seasons, despite significant efforts by the NFL to ensure players do not play when they display concussion symptoms, we saw players on the field who clearly were suffering from those symptoms. Ben Roethlisberger was a prime example (details here).
Then there are the countless role players who are an injury away from having their jobs taken away from them and don’t want to leave the game for that reason.
While the NFL has its own failings when it comes to concussions, including attempting to influence a government study (seriously, that happened), Rodgers is correct to call out the players. It’s up to them to make sure they are honest with themselves and their trainers when they experience concussion-like symptoms. Otherwise, the protocols are meaningless.