As the NFL has placed an increased emphasis on quick diagnosis and mandatory time off for players diagnosed with concussions, a number of players have said they would lie about their symptoms if that’s what they had to do to stay on the field. But few players have put it in such stark terms as former Steelers running back Willie Parker.
Asked by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review if the mentality of players wanting to play through concussions will change, Parker said, “Not if you have any fight in you.”
“You have to have fight in you, hunger in you and that dog in you,” Parker continued. “If you get a concussion, why would you tell? Why would you say something?”
The reason you might say something is you might be concerned that if you expose yourself to further contact on the field, you’re risking an even more serious brain injury. But Parker said football players are willing to put their team ahead of themselves.
“For me, it was the team first,” Parker said. “That’s how I looked at it. You don’t want to let your brother next to you down.”
Parker also noted that if you go out with a concussion, you risk having your backup take your job.
“Me, personally, I wouldn’t want to be sitting down,” Parker said. “Once you sit down, you let somebody else come in and get their shot, and I am not about to do that.”
That may be how Alex Smith feels today.