Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce took a shot to the helmet after catching a ball down the seam, and the hit ultimately knocked him from the Sunday night victory over the Houston Texans.
According to the team, Kelce — who is now dealing with a concussion — was cleared by the unaffiliated neurological consultant on the sideline but complained about his memory at halftime.
Head coach Andy Reid made the decision to hold him out and said:
“He remembered everything in the (injury) tent, but didn’t have it once we got inside (the locker room), so we chose to hold him out.”
Credit Reid and the Kansas City coaching staff for making the prudent decision with Kelce. Just because he was cleared initially doesn’t mean he’s perfectly fine.
And clearly, he wasn’t.
Football is a violent game. Head injuries happen. But it’s an encouraging sign that coaches are starting to take them more seriously.
In the past — even recent past — Kelce likely would’ve returned to the game after being cleared. He could “rub some dirt on it like a man” and get back in there.
Shockingly enough, though, rubbing some dirt on your head does not fix an injury to your brain.
Kelce’s long-term health should be prioritized — though “football” and “long-term health” are somewhat contradictory, yes — over sending him on the field with memory issues.
Kelce will likely need to pass concussion protocol during the week to play in Kansas City’s next game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.