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Terry Bradshaw: NFL must do more on concussions

Steelers Terry Bradshaw Getty Images

Terry Bradshaw, the four-time Super Bowl-winning former Steelers quarterback, has expanded on his revelation that he’s having problems that he attributes to brain damage suffered on the field, writing a column in which he says the NFL needs to do more to protect players from concussions.

“I know the NFL has done a lot to help us and also to improve the conditions for today’s players in regards to helmets and head injuries,” Bradshaw writes at FOXSports.com. “But it’s nowhere [near] where it needs to be.”

The 62-year-old Bradshaw says he has serious problems with his short-term memory and his hand-eye coordination, and he believes that’s a result of brain injuries he suffered in the NFL. He says he has no idea how many times he suffered brain injuries on the field, but he knows it’s a lot.

“When I played for the Steelers and I got my bell rung, I’d take smelling salts and go right back out there,” Bradshaw writes. “All of us did that. We didn’t know any better. You don’t know how many times I was in the huddle, asking my teammates to help me call a play. After a few minutes, I’d be fine and I’d keep playing just like nothing had happened.”

Now Bradshaw says he’s speaking out because he thinks more needs to be done for players like his longtime center Mike Webster, who suffered terribly in the final years of his life from health problems related to brain damage suffered on the field.

“I thought it would be good for a lot of players for this to get out,” Bradshaw wrote, “for me to tell my story.”

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24 Responses to “Terry Bradshaw: NFL must do more on concussions”
  1. thephantomstranger says: Apr 12, 2011 5:33 PM

    I knew his brain wasn’t working right when I saw him in “Failure to Launch.”

  2. hobartbaker says: Apr 12, 2011 5:35 PM

    Or “cocunnsions” as Bradshaw described them.

  3. 2011to2020lions says: Apr 12, 2011 5:35 PM

    That testing for HGH or whatever it is may help some, by taking the superman out of some of the players. All performance enhancing drugs need to be banned from the league, then slap a bigger safer helmet on them guys, give the players back the right to blow someone up in the head or anywhere else and play ball

  4. hobartbaker says: Apr 12, 2011 5:36 PM

    Gets so bad for Terry sometimes he wishes he were already dead.

  5. 2011to2020lions says: Apr 12, 2011 5:38 PM

    Players don’t want safe because it don’t look cool. You can make a helmet bigger and safer but it wont have the style the ones they wear now do. The only time you hear anything from a player about it is when they are out of the game. They are all to much of a bad arse to say anything in the game

  6. viguy007 says: Apr 12, 2011 5:39 PM

    No matter who is right in this war between the NFL and NFLPA, both sides do not have any concern for us, the fans. They are killing the fan interest that produces ticket and merchandise sales, but most importantly the television audience they sell to advertisers. The NFL is expected to enter into TV contracts worth an additional 46 Billion dollars as soon as the next CBA is signed. The NFL just assumes we will once again slip back into old modes of behavior, and they have no fear we will not. Let’s just put some fear in them.

    The NFL will be watching their draft very closely for any signs of slippage in its viewing audience. Remember last year, when they so proudly announced that the television ratings had increased by 18%, it was a sign that the NFL reached new levels of popularity. Now imagine how they would react if the rating declined by 50%. And if you intend to go to the draft in person, don’t go, let the auditorium be half filled. Support your fellow fans by not acting like a fan. You can watch the results of the Draft on your late night sports report, and these blogs will be filled chatter about the selections. You will know who they are, you will lose nothing, but maybe gain a season. Send a message that the sleeping giant is starting to awaken, and he can not be taken for granted, or ignored any longer. This is only the first step.

    Pass this message on, post it to your Facebook page and other blogs, Tweet “Join Fan Boycott of NFL Draft on TV”. Spread the word,

  7. davefox11 says: Apr 12, 2011 5:47 PM

    sounds like Terry Bradshaw will do anything to stay in the spotlight, you were a good qb, but please stop talking

  8. medtxpack says: Apr 12, 2011 5:48 PM

    explains him being naked on film, ruined movie theatre popcorn for me, forever.

  9. northeastern31 says: Apr 12, 2011 5:50 PM

    As long as they dont make the game soft like soccer….

    Last thing I want to see is “two hand touch” or a bunch of grown men flopping around on the field every five minutes. Thats why soccer sucks IMO

  10. axespray says: Apr 12, 2011 5:55 PM

    Ban James Harrison from the Game:
    The NFL’s Concussion Rate will go down at least 92%.

  11. makimaguro says: Apr 12, 2011 6:00 PM

    It’s just hard for the average fan to hear millionaires complain that they are forgetting things, etc. – especially when they knew that they were playing a violent sport. Don’t put it on the league – put in on yourself.

    Similar to people with lung cancer suing tobacco companies.

    If you live in Oklahoma chances are good you might get hit by a tornado or two in your day.

  12. rushbacker says: Apr 12, 2011 6:05 PM

    When will this national nightmare of concussions in sports be over??

    In all seriousness, I do understand the problem, but what’s needed is someone coming forward with some real, viable SOLUTIONS. All this handwringing is more annoying than useful.

  13. bigmike7914 says: Apr 12, 2011 6:08 PM

    The only way to bet rid of concussions is to stop tackling. I understand that people are concerned with concussions, but it’s not like the players dont know what they are getting into before they start playing if you are going to do something about concussions then do something about torn ligaments and damaged cartilage to the knees, do something about torn labrums and hamstrings, the point that i’m trying to make is injuries are apart of the game and no matter how you play it they are going to happen, if you dont want to get hurt then dont play.

  14. jamie54 says: Apr 12, 2011 6:11 PM

    So what can they do Terry, since the NFL is continually criticized by sports talk shows, fans, and players alike saying how the NFL is changing the game we all know and grew up with? Can’t have it both ways, Terry, can’t criticize the NFL and then say more needs to be done. Come on, let’s hear you speak out against these players, even those on your old team, who criticize the NFL for trying to do more, I dare you.

  15. massappeal12345 says: Apr 12, 2011 6:21 PM

    It seems to me that there wasn’t a great deal of brain capacity to start with.

  16. waitingguilty says: Apr 12, 2011 6:31 PM

    Yet oddly his wonderlic score was higher on the day he retired than the day he was drafted.

  17. monkeesfan says: Apr 12, 2011 6:42 PM

    Are concussions being more and more defined down here? Why does trusting in the toughness of the players never seem to be an option?

  18. Deb says: Apr 12, 2011 7:24 PM

    @2011to2020lions …

    All that talk of testing for HGH sounds great. But science isn’t even sure what effects HGH has on the body, let alone how to effectively test for the presence of the drug. And all that finining last year? If you’ll look at the stats, you’ll find his methods didn’t result in any significant reduction of the number or severity of head injuries to players in the league.

    As with most things, Goodell plays to the public rather than doing anything substantive that would benefit players or fans, or improve player safety.

    What’s needed is scientific research to determine how best to reduce the number of head injuries and followthrough to ensure those measures are taken. I’m an advocate of improving the helmet–which doesn’t necessarily mean making it bigger. It does, however, mean keeping it secure, so players should be required to fasten all their chin straps before taking the field. And face masks, eye protection, etc., on the helmet should be uniform and not left to the players’ discretion.

    As for performance-enhancing drugs, there’s nothing wrong with players taking natural substances that won’t harm them. If you can buy it over the counter at GNC, it shouldn’t be on a banned-substance list. If it’s harmful, then no oneshould be able to buy it over the counter at GNC.

    The only way to address these issues is with appropriate data collection–something the NFL so far has been unwilling to do.

  19. ArtModellsPimp says: Apr 12, 2011 7:54 PM

    “When I played for the Steelers and I got my bell rung, I’d take smelling salts and go right back out there,” Bradshaw writes.

    ————

    Uhhhh, Terry? Joe “Turkey” Jones begs to differ with you…

  20. thefiesty1 says: Apr 12, 2011 8:32 PM

    Do more? What else should the league do to keep these guys from diving head first into an opposing player or the ground? Helmets have been improved. The leave as basically instituted a hands off approach to QB’s. It’s a violent game by bigger and stronger players. They have to take care of themselves first. Bradshaw was a good QB but his “act” on interviews and as an analyst leave a lot to be desired.

  21. tdbragg says: Apr 12, 2011 8:45 PM

    Terry is 100% dead on the money . The players of the sixties and seventies did’nt have access to the equipment that is available to players today . Players from that era routinely suffered concussions week after week , only to be told , he’ll be ok , he just got his bell rung . Those players who got their bell rung were right back out there the very next week . That exact same injury in 2011 would keep you out at least two weeks possibly longer . These former players such as the great Mike Webster end up with horrible cases of dementia to the point , they dont even know theyre own family members . Whats worse is the NFL needs to do more for these retired players who have already paid the ultimate price with years of abuse to the head that can never be reversed .

  22. backuppunter says: Apr 12, 2011 11:41 PM

    get rid of helmets and shoulder pads and take away all the rules that turned it into such a passing game. that would suck but it would cut down on the concussions.

  23. paulieorkid says: Apr 13, 2011 12:46 AM

    @ Deb:

    Deb, I’m very fond of most of your posts and truly appreciate your passion not to mention the breadth of your knowledge. You make it your business to be informed. Truly informed. Good on you.

    But where we digress here is having GNC be the arbiter of what is and isn’t legit in this context.

    GNC is a private enterprise that makes its money by selling items packaged as healthy and performance enhancing. By design, GNC regularly profits by selling “healthy” foods/supplements that aren’t.

    And GNC’s incentive to market products as performance enhancing is self-evident.

    GNC is not evil – no grudge against them at all, and credit them for being a forerunner is creating options for a less destructive lifestyle. Just don’t think they’re the end all/be all answer to what substances can be put into players bodies.

  24. CKL says: Apr 13, 2011 1:54 PM

    C’mon Terry you’re 62…I think a little memory loss is understandable!
    I don’t know if he personally has memory issues from concussions or not but I certainly can’t correlate what’s happening memory wise with a 62 Y.O. man as being definitely connected to concussions. On top of it Terry had some mental health issues for which he was on medication I think. Just too many variables with him to blame concussions IMO.

    Now Merrill Hoge, yes. I believe the man said he couldn’t even remember what street he lived on and I think he was still in his thirties.

    The more I hear about all this stuff the more I am starting to agree with Aikman’s years old comment about getting rid of helmets altogether.

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