The NFL has cracked down on player safety regarding head injuries in the past couple of seasons and the number of concussions has decreased over the past year. The NFL announced 214 diagnosed concussions in 2018’s preseason and the regular season, a 24% decrease in concussions during the preseason and regular season from 2017, and a 29% decrease during the regular season from 2017, including practices — the lowest number since the league started totaling concussion numbers back in 2012.
While the NFL has done their due diligence improving the concussion protocol and making players more aware of injuries, some players are still hiding the severity of the injury. Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill admitted as such in a game against the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago, telling the team he hurt his shoulder in order to stay in the game.
“I just basically lied to them,” Grugier-Hill said, via Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I thought it would just go away. Just didn’t really say anything about it. It got to the point where I really couldn’t lie to them anymore.”
Grugier-Hill left the game after the first play from scrimmage when he collided with Dolphins linebacker DeVante Parker. He returned to the game and didn’t tell the Eagles about the concussion when the symptoms didn’t go away, three days later.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson wasn’t happy with Grugier-Hill’s decision.
“Just so I’m clear with you guys and I’m obviously clear with the team, this goes back to training camp when we sit in here as a team and have a medical meeting and we actually disclose to our players, we stress how important it is for our players to, one, either self-police themselves and/or a teammate, kind of say something to a medical team member of this importance,” Pederson said in a lengthy speech Friday. “We know how important head and neck injuries are to our league and to just the person, the player himself and the well-being of the player.
“So from that standpoint, to have this come back like this and for him to admit what he has said and done, it’s very disappointing for me as a head coach, after putting our players through meetings and instructing our players. It’s not a reflection on the team or anything like that. It’s just one guy who made a bad decision, bad choice. I look at it and I take football aside. I say, ‘Hey, this is a well-being issue.’ Had he maybe got hit again in that game, who knows what could have happened.”
Grugier-Hill admitted he doesn’t regret the decision to stay in, but it presents the problem with players suffering concussions. The NFL is moving forward with player safety and educating players regarding brain injuries, but it’s still the players’ responsibility to be honest with their head injuries and notify the team when they are experiencing symptoms.
Grugier-Hill just simply ignored that in an attempt to stay in the game. He’s not the first player to do it, nor will he be the last.
“I’ll reiterate to our team again obviously the importance of reporting injuries, regardless of what type of injury it is,” Pederson said. “But I just want him and the guys to understand that I’m disappointed in this decision.”