As much as trainers are keeping an eye out for concussions, they can only have eyes on one player at a time.
That’s why Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder is all for changes in league rules that provided certified athletic trainers in the booth to monitor potential head injuries, as well as video monitors on the sidelines to see replays.
If those things existed in 2010, Burkholder might have avoided one of the worst moments of his career.
The Eagles’ long-time trainer recounted to Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News the frenetic moments of the 2010 opener, when he was treating Kevin Kolb for a concussion, and had his back turned when linebacker Stewart Bradley suffered one, then staggered and fell before returning to the game four plays later.
“Bradley and I were as tight as any two people on earth at the time because I had spent so much time with him when he was rehabbing his [torn] ACL,” Burkholder said. “The last thing I would want to do is put him out there hurt. I mean, I treated that guy like he was my son. I was devastated by it. But it was circumstances that allowed that to happen. Great changes have come about as a result of that, so I’m happy about that. Because of my screwup.
“I always feel that if you screw up once, it’s OK. If you screw up twice, you’re an idiot. The league is putting things in place to make our job easier and help prevent something like what happened with Stew from happening again.”
After the Bradley incident, and the shot Browns quarterback Colt McCoy took from James Harrison in December, the league made changes. Neither player got a concussion test on the sidelines, because medical staffs were attending to other players.
“Concussions have been the motivating force behind this,” Burkholder said. “But we’ll use it for everything. There’s a lot of times where, if you didn’t see the injury, you don’t really know [the severity of the injury].
“A really interesting one will be high ankle sprains. They’re hard to diagnose. If you let those guys play on one, it makes for a little longer recovery. The one thing we always look for on film [with ankle sprains] is whether they got their foot turned out.
“So if you see that in a game, we can pull a guy out and probably hasten the process of recovery. Because sometimes, they can get through a game [with the injury], but feel miserable the next day and be out longer.”
If the league can expand replay for officiating rulings, any help they can provide medical staffs to keep players safe is a step in the right direction.