Hall of Fame coach and legendary broadcaster John Madden made his weekly appearance today on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Rich Gannon and Adam Schein, and Coach Madden made a stirring and persuasive case for a culture change at all levels of football regarding the issue of concussions.
Madden’s remarks were so compelling and blunt and convincing that the league should have him reprise the message for a DVD that is sent to every football coach in America.
In fact, Madden may have been too candid, given the various pieces of litigation the league currently is facing, with allegations that the NFL failed to warn players about the risks of concussions. Madden says that the issue had been “swept under the rug” for years, requiring significant changes now in order to properly address the situation in the future.
And while Madden didn’t specifically blame the Browns for the team’s decision to allow quarterback Colt McCoy to re-enter last Thursday’s game against the Steelers, Madden said that the injury was handled “wrong in every way,” or words to that effect. (We’ll get the full transcript from our friends at SiriusXM NFL Radio.)
So Browns president Mike Holmgren can claim all he wants that it’s “unfair” to criticize the team for failing to hold McCoy out of the game, but the fact remains that the team allowed McCoy to re-enter the game with a concussion. And Holmgren can make all the excuses he wants about how the doctors and trainers were busy and didn’t see James Harrison put a helmet into McCoy’s chin, but the fact remains that the team allowed McCoy to re-enter the game with a concussion. And Holmgren can point to all the times the Browns kept players out of games after suffering concussions, but the fact remains that the team allowed McCoy to re-enter the game with a concussion.
Madden explained that coaches and teammates tend to assume that, when doctor and/or trainer is evaluating a player, the doctor and/or trainer know where and how hard the player had been hit. Madden said that the next step in the process of spotting concussions is to ensure that teammates and coaches don’t make that assumption.
If one of the most influential, old-school coaches believes strongly about this issue, everyone associated with the game — at every level — should take notice. Here’s hoping that Coach Madden keeps spreading the word, and that everyone who hears his words heeds them.