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Two Texans suffer concussions on Monday night

Houston Texans Training Camp Getty Images

When running back Derrick Ward went down hard along the sidelines during the first quarter of Monday night’s preseason win over the Jets, and when he got up without a limp but still went to the locker room, it looked like he possibly was being checked for a concussion.

As it turn out, that’s what it was.  Coach Gary Kubiak confirmed the diagnosis on Tuesday.  “Derrick is doing fine today,” Kubiak said.  “I think Derrick will be just fine.”

Not as fine was linebacker Cheta Ozougwu (pictured).  He spent the night in the hospital.

And Ozougwu, this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, apparently was Mr. Invisible after getting dinged.

“When I watched the film, the opening kickoff [of the] second half I think is when it might’ve happened,” Kubiak said, via quotes distributed by the team.  “He kept playing and took a couple more shots, and it really wasn’t until late in the middle of the fourth quarter that he complained.”

So, basically, the guy played for more than a quarter.  With a concussion.

“I think he actually said something to [linebacker Darryl] Sharpton,” Kubiak said. “Sharpton came over and told the trainers, and we didn’t like the way he was acting.  We evaluated him after the game, didn’t like what was going on and took him to the hospital.  He spent the night at the hospital.  He was dressing and doing fine when I went to see him and his family a while ago, but obviously took a pretty good shot.  It’s going to take some time.”

This incident once again exposes the primary flaw with the league’s procedures for detecting concussions.  Players don’t want to be pulled out of games, especially in the preseason, when guys at the bottom of a 90-man roster are trying to make it to the final 53.  And so players can’t be counted on to confess to having suffered a concussion.

Of course, that assumes Ozougwu was able to deliberately conceal his symptoms.  Far more troubling is the possibility that evidence existed, and that no one noticed (other than Sharpton).

That’s why we continue to believe that the NFL needs to have one or more people in place who do more than wait for obvious evidence of head trauma to emerge.  Whether there’s a doctor on the sidelines who must quickly check every player who comes off the field or a doctor in the booth who constantly scans the field for evidence of wooziness or a doctor in the bowels of the stadium who watches a replay of every play in search of evidence that someone took a big hit to the noggin that wasn’t noticed, the fact that Ozougwu’s concussion went undetected for so long proves that, whatever the NFL is doing, it’s not working as well as it could, or should.

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23 Responses to “Two Texans suffer concussions on Monday night”
  1. peester15 says: Aug 16, 2011 7:03 PM

    I hope they don’t sue the NFL!!

  2. jakek2 says: Aug 16, 2011 7:09 PM

    Oh Jeez. I guess Goodell is going to ban running plays. I feared this day.

  3. Todd Haley's Temper says: Aug 16, 2011 7:09 PM

    Of course Mr. Irrelevant “concealed” his symptoms. If he reported it right away the Texans would waive him and he would be viewed as injury prone and probably wouldn’t get a second chance. The texans? They would just cut a 7th round draft pick.

  4. jakek2 says: Aug 16, 2011 7:10 PM

    install grass and slow these dudes down. concussions will be cut in half

  5. talkintrashallday says: Aug 16, 2011 7:16 PM

    Watching the Texans play makes my head hurt too

  6. buzzardpointlookout says: Aug 16, 2011 7:23 PM

    Soooooo sick of people in the media harping like old ladies about how “the league isn’t doing enough”. Blah blah blah. Unless a guy falls down, or wobbles on his feet, or has incoherent speech…you get the idea. Barring outward syptoms, it is the responsibility of the player to self-report head injuries. You cannot try to hold the nfl’s feet to the fire for each individual player’s decision tree.

    Asinine.

  7. petehemlock says: Aug 16, 2011 7:25 PM

    The players are too fast and brains are too fragile. Getting driven into the ground a couple of yards out of bounds by Eric Smith with no flag doesn’t help either. It’s why they make the big bucks. Occupational hazard. Go Jets

  8. citizenstrange says: Aug 16, 2011 7:27 PM

    As I have posted many, many, many times …. the risk of concussions would be GREATLY reduced if they would just cover the outsides of the hemets with a two inch thick wrestling mat type padding.

    Having the bigger padded helmets would look weird at first but people would get used to it quickly.

    It would immediately take away the cannonball like impact of helmet to helmet, helmet to chin/jaw, helmet to knee, helmet to spine, helmet to ANYTHING hits.

    Think of it this way …. you put on a football helmet and let me hit you in the head with a baseball bat as hard as I can.

    Or…. you put on a helmet with two inches of wrestling mat padding on the outside and I hit you in the head with a baseball bat wrapped in two inches of wrestling mat type padding.

    The freakin-harder-than-steel-rock-hard helmets are what does the damage.

    Am I taking crazy pills here? Does anybody else NOT get this?

  9. darthobama says: Aug 16, 2011 7:29 PM

    Houston has grass…

  10. satanphoenix says: Aug 16, 2011 7:30 PM

    @Todd Haley’s Temper

    Part of the problem with head injuries is that you can’t think clearly when they occur.

    You can’t blame the player for not reporting it.

  11. pappysarcasm says: Aug 16, 2011 7:32 PM

    install grass and slow these dudes down. concussions will be cut in half

    I agree! And outlaw launching!. Tackle and block with your feet planted in the EARTH!

  12. quiettexan says: Aug 16, 2011 7:36 PM

    players are never going to pull themselves out of games if there’s a chance they can keep going. the pride of instant glory can drive anyone to selfish choices…even if there are long term consequences.

  13. icewalker946 says: Aug 16, 2011 7:38 PM

    Ok, ok, ok, so I do not rank up there with these professional athletes. Never will say that. Never played with pro athletes either.

    That being said, I was in the Marine Corps and this was back in about 1994, when things were a lot different. We had intramural sports teams on base. One flag football game I was blocking on a kick return and as I turned from running back to the kick returner I had a split second to brace myself before being hit so hard I flew backwards and off my feet. When I landed I saw ‘negative’ (what was supposed to be black was white and so on) and could hardly get off the field, coach laughing at me!

    Well ever since then, my happy-go-lucky moods became more darker and my anger, well ask the walls with holes and dishes I have broke out of momentary insanity.

    I feel I have had a concussion but this was never considered more than getting my bell rung, like they said in the good ol’ days. I changed after that.

    So now I’m worried (and maybe relieved) that I now know what may have caused me to become what my family calls me Jekyll and Hyde.

    Concussions are nothing to laugh and joke about, at least for me. The NFL is right to take these seriously.

  14. prior0knowledge says: Aug 16, 2011 7:43 PM

    Why can’t they put a shock detector into helmets? A simple device that when it notices a big potential shock, it sends out a signal to a team official who checks the player. Simple. Done. Then you don’t have to rely on players, coaches or some silly replay doctor.

  15. petehemlock says: Aug 16, 2011 7:47 PM

    Citizenstrange, my guess is a soft outside of the helmet would grip what it hits and result in gruesome neck injuries. Also, why have the shell in your plan? I’ve heard this idea before in TMQ and it still sounds pretty ridiculous. The players are too strong and fast. The always get better gluttony we’re seeing in NFL is approaching unsustainable. Higher profits better ratings gross sales etc. And players built like lamborghinis in a destruction derby. Something’s gonna break.

  16. fmwarner says: Aug 16, 2011 7:49 PM

    citizenstrange says: Aug 16, 2011 7:27 PM

    As I have posted many, many, many times …. the risk of concussions would be GREATLY reduced if they would just cover the outsides of the hemets with a two inch thick wrestling mat type padding.

    Am I taking crazy pills here? Does anybody else NOT get this?
    ====================================

    Actually, in Sports Illustrated this week they explained that these helmets are a mixed blessing at best. While the padded helmets reduce the intensity of a blow, they also disperse the force over a wider area, imperiling more of the brain. In addition, the foam helmets tend to cling to each other in a helmet to helmet collision, making the impact longer than one with traditional helmets, which glance off each other.

    I still think the solution is to introduce weight limits by position. It would reduce the trauma of big hits while also eliminating the incentive for players to get bigger and bigger (which in turn reduces the incentive to use PEDs).

  17. hobartbaker says: Aug 16, 2011 8:16 PM

    “He was dressing and doing fine……. Able to feed himself and use the toilet with minor help. Should be back tomorrow.”.

  18. macjacmccoy says: Aug 16, 2011 8:21 PM

    Hmm…. So where are all the geniuses who gave me thumbs down when I said right after Ward came out that it definitely was a concussion?

  19. axespray says: Aug 16, 2011 10:12 PM

    you stay classy texans….

    GO VIKES!

  20. cubano76 says: Aug 16, 2011 10:25 PM

    Well I almost got a concussion watching Rex’s shirt almost pop off. Not so fat bastard! :)

  21. icewalker946 says: Aug 16, 2011 11:21 PM

    I’ve heard (or read) that there are better helmets that would reduce concussions but because they don’t have the NFL’s seal of approval (not under contract) they cannot be used.

    Anyone else hear (or read) that?

  22. jetsetfred says: Aug 17, 2011 3:30 AM

    i say put neg/positive magnets in helmets… to repel the impact

  23. tatum064 says: Aug 17, 2011 5:28 AM

    hobartbaker says:
    Aug 16, 2011 8:16 PM
    “He was dressing and doing fine……. Able to feed himself and use the toilet with minor help. Should be back tomorrow.”.
    =============================
    Stay classy “ho”.

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