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Bettis speaks out for concussion testing

Jerome Bettis AP

Jerome Bettis isn’t sure just how much brain damage he might have suffered from the tens of thousands of collisions he sustained during his football career.

“I had a couple serious concussions, but even more importantly, I had minor concussions that I wasn’t aware of because I just thought I got my bell rung and shook it off,” Bettis told the New York Times. “But had I known then what I know now I would have handled it differently and I would have told the trainers, because the last thing I want is 20 years down the road to not have my brain function correctly.”

Bettis isn’t just concerned about concussions in the NFL. He’s also concerned about concussions suffered by players at the high school level and younger. And as a result he’s working with Dick’s Sporting Goods to promote concussion treatment and prevention among young athletes.

Dick’s is sponsoring an initiatie to give baseline tests to 1 million young athletes, measuring how well their brains — when they haven’t suffered a concussion — handle functions like verbal memory, visual memory and reaction time. Once that baseline test is completed, the same test can be given to young athletes after they’ve taken a hit to the head, and those athletes can be held out of competition until they match the scores they had on the baseline test.

The tests are already given to athletes in the NFL and other pro sports, but many high schools haven’t budgeted money to implement the tests. Dick’s is pledging $1 for every pair of shoes it sells, as well as $1 every time someone checks in at Dick’s through Foursquare or Facebook Places, $1 for every person who shares information about the program on Facebook and $1 for every Twitter message that includes the hashtag #DSGPACE.

In  a new commercial for the program, Bettis says, “You shouldn’t get on the field without a baseline concussion test.” At the moment, many high school football players do. Bettis is working to change that.

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16 Responses to “Bettis speaks out for concussion testing”
  1. 66rick says: Aug 15, 2011 10:20 AM

    A good, honorable man and a true Champion. Gotta love the Bus. HOF 2012.

  2. dickroy says: Aug 15, 2011 10:30 AM

    Thats great, but $1.00 for every pair of shoes? They could at least aford $1.25.

  3. gdeli says: Aug 15, 2011 10:43 AM

    good guy i guess but a violent sport. They know football can hurt them but they do it anyways like cigarettes. But football shouldn’t kill you it just beats on your fragile brain with those hits. The body wasn’t made for football.

  4. xcerebus1 says: Aug 15, 2011 10:46 AM

    So Bettis is doing these spots for ‘free’ because he cares so much….or he’s getting paid?

  5. hobartbaker says: Aug 15, 2011 11:56 AM

    “For years I ploughed head first into the line without a thought for my own safety. They called me The Bus. Now they call me The Short Bus.”.

  6. Deb says: Aug 15, 2011 12:24 PM

    All my life I’ve heard about the first high school football game my grandmother attended. A player was knocked out and died from a brain injury. Concussions don’t just affect college and pro players. Since younger players may be even more vulnerable to brain trauma, they should be taking the same precautions as pros. Glad to hear Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bettis have taken on this campaign.

  7. sneschalmers says: Aug 15, 2011 12:29 PM

    This is actually an amazing initiative. I currently work in the field of psychology and having baseline results for young athletes BEFORE they incur any kind of head trauma is huge.

    It will allow neuropsychologists to see what cognitive functions have been impaired as a result of the head trauma, which will immensely help the ensuing treatment. I’m impressed by Dick’s initiative.

  8. flagstaffphotos says: Aug 15, 2011 12:32 PM

    I love you Bettis, but you should have stuck to bowling perfect games. At the end of the day, you get to keep your brain, unless some jealous bowler throws a 16-pound ball at your head.

    I love football, but I’m glad I was too small after 9th grade ball, and I wouldn’t wish it on my own son. Any sport that has a 100% rate of disabling injury has got to make you stop and think if it’s worth it. I’ve never met a single college-level or above player who doesn’t have serious, life-long back, knee, hip, or shoulder problems, most of them requiring multiple surgeries.

  9. ticalcaldwell says: Aug 15, 2011 1:02 PM

    I am a Bengals fan and HATE the steelers and their overweight uneducated 6berg d-bag fans….but you have to love the Bus…He just seems like a good guy.. Kind of like a football George Forman

  10. lambchop731 says: Aug 15, 2011 1:10 PM

    would like to hear more “current” players thoughts on this topic.

  11. 63sixtythree says: Aug 15, 2011 2:06 PM

    I agree that younger players need to be taught and made aware of the dangers of concussions … Playing HS football @ a tiny school back in the late 70′s we didn’t have trainers and if ya did get injured or yer bell rung it was “Rub some dirt on it and get back in there” … I had no idea that that ringing in yer head or the double vision was a concussion … We just took it for granted and played … Look @ what has happened to a few of the greats of the NFL due to concussions …

  12. dickroy says: Aug 15, 2011 2:09 PM

    Good for Jerome. I always liked this guy.

  13. MichaelEdits says: Aug 15, 2011 10:36 PM

    That’s right. Everybody get on the bus. (Groan, thumbs down, boo hiss Michael.) Seriously, education. I’ve probably got enough brain damage to write for PFT. (That’s not funny.)

  14. ottograham says: Aug 16, 2011 1:11 PM

    @ticalcaldwell

    Dont appreciate one comment you made about the citizens of Pittsburgh. Not only am I more educated, but I am alot less ignorant. Keep your lame opinions to yourself. If we want one from you, we will certainly give it to you. In the form of a broken jaw off a crackback.

  15. dmobey says: Aug 18, 2011 8:03 PM

    Oh gawd, it never ends.

    ***********************************
    Deb says:
    Aug 15, 2011 12:24 PM
    All my life I’ve heard about the first high school football game my grandmother attended. A player was knocked out and died from a brain injury. Concussions don’t just affect college and pro players. Since younger players may be even more vulnerable to brain trauma, they should be taking the same precautions as pros. Glad to hear Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bettis have taken on this campaign.

  16. dmobey says: Aug 18, 2011 8:05 PM

    Right except for the Bus who was overrated.

    **********************
    ticalcaldwell says:
    Aug 15, 2011 1:02 PM
    I am a Bengals fan and HATE the steelers and their overweight uneducated 6berg d-bag fans….but you have to love the Bus…He just seems like a good guy.. Kind of like a football George Forman

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