Green Bay Packers linebacker Aaron Kampman suffered a concussion on the fourth play of Sunday’s game in Tampa Bay, but he kept playing until the fourth quarter before he told coaches he needed to come out.
That raises an important question: Shouldn’t the coaches — and the Packers’ medical staff — have taken Kampman out of the game themselves?
Not according to Kampman, who told reporters that he doesn’t blame the team for allowing him to play, and that it’s a player’s responsibility to recognize when he has to come out.
But, of course, NFL players aren’t qualified to diagnose their own brain injuries. And they’re not able to evaluate themselves dispassionately when they’re in the middle of the game. And they’re really not able to evaluate themselves after they’ve already suffered a concussion. That’s why team medical staffs need to be vigilant about monitoring players and removing them from games when they’ve suffered concussions, whether the players themselves want to be removed or not.
Kampman says he feels better now, but he did not practice today. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, “the earliest he’ll get back is Friday.”
For the sake of Kampman’s long-term health, here’s hoping he and the Packers are more cautious this week than they were on Sunday.