When Jamaal Charles scored a touchdown Sunday against San Diego, he had a violent collision with Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers, sending both of them to the turf. Flowers left the game with a concussion, but Charles kept playing.
Maybe he shouldn’t have. Charles said on ESPN Radio that he was seeing flashing lights afterward, which is one of the symptoms of a concussion.
“It definitely hurt,” Charles said. “It’s like, I woke up — I mean, like, a couple plays later I was seeing light bulbs, like, light bulbs around my eyes, and I was trying to catch them. But I was in the game so I was like, ‘Alright, let’s get the ball and run again.'”
So why wasn’t Charles removed from the game? Charles said he tried to avoid having to go through the league’s concussion protocol. Charles previously suffered a concussion in January, in the Chiefs’ playoff loss to the Colts, and his absence from the rest of that game may have been the difference between the Chiefs winning and losing in Indianapolis. As a result, Charles said he doesn’t want to go through the concussion protocol because he wants to be able to keep playing to help his team.
“I didn’t have a concussion but it definitely was a hit that shocked me. But I don’t think I had to go through the concussion protocols and all that. I didn’t want to go through that again because of what happened in the playoffs. I was definitely fine, I think I came out pretty good,” Charles said.
It’s admirable that Charles wants to help his team, but it’s worrisome that NFL players still try to avoid a concussion diagnosis. Charles may think he was “definitely fine,” but that determination should have been made by a doctor.