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McElroy concealed concussions symptoms

McElroy Getty Images

So how did Jets quarterback Greg McElroy go from having an abdominal issue on Wednesday to a concussion on Thursday?  Apparently, the guy who scored in the 40s on the Wonderlic wasn’t smart enough to tell the team he was suffering from concussion symptoms.

Jane McManus of ESPNNewYork.com reports that McElroy had concealed his symptoms “for days,” telling teammates about the situation but only finally going to the team on Thursday morning.

“He came to my room [Christmas night] and we talked about it,” receiver Clyde Gates told ESPNNewYork.com. “He was hurting real bad. I was like, ‘Bro, I know, I’ve been down that road already.  I’m just saying you can’t try to tough it out cause you going to end up hurting yourself.  You’ve got to let everybody know how you really feel.'”

Guard Matt Slauson also knew about the situation.  “He definitely has that [warrior] mentality, but it got to the point where it was scaring him,” Slauson said.

McElroy finally decided to approach trainers on Thursday, after experiencing headaches during a morning weightlifting session.

While it was indeed dumb for McElroy to hide his condition, McElroy was smart enough to know that admitting to headaches and other symptoms would jeopardize his ability to play, which in turn would harm his chances of showing that he can be a starting quarterback, in New York or elsewhere.  Still, the league wants players to come forward.

The most alarming aspect of this story is that multiple teammates were aware of McElroy’s concussion symptoms, and yet they did nothing to alert the coaching staff or trainers to the situation.  Though on one hand they would have been violating a confidence, they also would have been showing genuine concern for a teammate’s health — and if McElroy would have had a problem with it, it would have been his problem.

Most importantly, the situation reconfirms that the league has a long way to go when it comes to changing the culture of concussions.  It’s easy for the NFL to talk, but real action will be needed in order to get players whose livelihood hinges on being available to play to willingly raise their hands, and potentially lose their jobs.

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39 Responses to “McElroy concealed concussions symptoms”
  1. salventuri says: Dec 27, 2012 9:07 PM

    If the Jets were actually good, they wouldn’t be so much fun.

  2. bobulated says: Dec 27, 2012 9:14 PM

    “…wasn’t smart enough to tell the team he was suffering from concussion symptoms”

    More likely he didn’t want the get “Alex Smithed”.

  3. brucetrimble says: Dec 27, 2012 9:19 PM

    The fact that the QB confided in other teammates who failed to break confidence for the safety of the player and sake of the team is a clear indicator that the jets are not a team at all. They are a collection of players, coaches and administrators with conflicting agendas. Also the fact that the QB withheld his condition illustrates that the NFL player safety communication strategy isn’t working-at least at the player level.

  4. davekezer says: Dec 27, 2012 9:20 PM

    The guy wants to play and finally got an opportunity in that mess of an organization. I don’t blame him for trying his hardest to shake whatever symptoms he had and just try to get out there again.

    It should be noted that there are players out there like Jahvid Best who have been shut down the majority of their NFL careers because of well-known concussion symptoms. Those type of guys are big-name superstars.

    That said, you can’t blame guys like McElroy for wanting to compete. Teams can drop players like a penny in the gutter if they want to. Until that culture is changed, you’re going to have hungry guys ignoring the obvious for fear of being tossed.

  5. rameyag says: Dec 27, 2012 9:28 PM

    He didn’t want Tim Tebow taking his job. Wait a minute. What? They’re going back to Sanchez? Oh, wait, Tebow doesn’t want to go back onto the field unless he can play quarterback. So, he won’t go back onto the field — at least for the Jets. What does that tell you? The Broncos? They dumped him. The Jets? They’re in the process of dumping him. The Jags? Say hello to Timsanity.

  6. doe22us says: Dec 27, 2012 9:29 PM

    He looks concussed and flat to me in that pic, damn 11 sacks and multiple hits must be tough.

  7. somekat says: Dec 27, 2012 9:29 PM

    One more nail in the coffin of the players case against the league for concussions.

    Well, multiple nails. 1 for McElroy, and 1 for each for the players that knew and didn’t say anything

  8. burkem325 says: Dec 27, 2012 9:33 PM

    ‘More likely he didn’t want the get “Alex Smithed”’

    Exactly!

    I would conceal them too. Today’s NFL overreacts to concussions due to the slew of pending legal cases. Do you really think any player who gets concussed wants to leave a game if he can still perform? Players know (or should know) that anyone can lose their starting job at any time in this game, and showing weakness or getting yanked for a concussion is a sure bet to allow the back-up to impress.

    Good for McElroy for standing up and not sitting down!

  9. dcfan4life says: Dec 27, 2012 9:33 PM

    McElroy may have been dumb enough to hide it, but its not like he told Sanchez or Tebow. Imagine had he told one of them and they ratted him out, for obvious reasons, man that would have been extra stupid.

  10. aklolzer says: Dec 27, 2012 9:35 PM

    Meh, let him play. concussions arent as big a deal as the sports world makes them out to be. go out, play, collect your money.

  11. steelernationisthepinnacleofexistenceyouarenothing says: Dec 27, 2012 9:39 PM

    Here we go…

  12. nxsteven says: Dec 27, 2012 9:45 PM

    Admit you have a concussion and lose your job and paycheck ala Alex Smith. Or lie about it and try to play through it, feed the family (yeah I went there).

    Or, and I know this is a freaking crazy idea, how about you just guarantee their contracts like all other professional sports? Wild!!!

  13. fumblenuts says: Dec 27, 2012 9:51 PM

    “Apparently, the guy who scored in the 40s on the Wonderlic wasn’t smart enough to tell the team he was suffering from concussion symptoms.”

    Didn’t Braylon Edwards already speak about the Jets along the same lines?!

  14. gettingpwned says: Dec 27, 2012 9:58 PM

    3rd stringer gets a shot to play… and you think he’s not going to lie about a concussion? please, any other 3rd string qb would do the same. that’s a rare opportunity.
    i’m not saying it’s right, but playing this game like you guys don’t get why he did it is untruthful and self righteous.

  15. effjohntaylornorelation says: Dec 27, 2012 10:06 PM

    How about creating a “concussion” IR or exemption, that requires testing and confirmation that will fine the teams if falsified, allowing/requiring teams to carry these players therefore requiring medical care is provided and allowing these players to heal properly. Call me, maybe

  16. thegrey7 says: Dec 27, 2012 10:12 PM

    “The most alarming aspect of this story is that multiple teammates were aware of McElroy’s concussion symptoms, and yet they did nothing to alert the coaching staff or trainers to the situation.” — You seriously believe his teammates are going to snitch on him over this?

  17. montrealraider says: Dec 27, 2012 10:23 PM

    I would have done the same and Im not dumb by any means. Greg may not ever get another opportunity to start and he knew it. His best bet was to hope the sympthoms would fade away quickly enough so he could put a good game together against the Bills. He needed it because his performance against the Chargers was backup quality, not starter quality. A lot of throws lacked accuracy and arm strength.

  18. gronkspike802 says: Dec 27, 2012 10:31 PM

    Players always have and always will hide symptoms of injuries so they can play. This is true for EVERY contact sport. It takes a certain mentality to play contact sports and part of that mentality is never wanting to be weak or injured. When I was in high school i was a LB and i broke my wrist in a game, but I didn’t say anything and kept playing until the trainer noticed I was playing one handed and made my coach take me out. Went and got a cast on it the next day, had the trainer mold a foam pad to it, and never missed a game. I was the starting mic LB and I didn’t want to lose my spot or let my teammates down. Same exact things happen in contact sports at every level, and there is absolutely nothing the NFL can do about it.

  19. seahawkgoat says: Dec 27, 2012 10:38 PM

    I think Mac will be a good QB one day

  20. brianjoates says: Dec 27, 2012 10:45 PM

    Its only at the NFL level that players are not encouraged to play through pain because they are investments to billionaires.

  21. montrealraider says: Dec 27, 2012 11:13 PM

    Just rewatched that game. Im convinced he got his concussion on the Jets second to last play. On 3rd and long he avoids a sack and then is finished by #91 of the Chargers, falls hard on his forehead, stays on the ground for a couple seconds. 2 minutes warning, then he played 4th down and gets hammered again!

    I think someone dropped the ball between those 2 plays, especialy since there was a timeout in between.

    All that said I will correct myself, he doesnt really lack accuracy. Its decent. But he really struggled with pocket awareness and getting the ball out in time. Should have thrown it away a couple times instead of taking all those sacks. That comes with experience I think. Whats more concerning for him is arm strength. He’s what you call a “high effort thrower”. It seemed like he had to put all his weight on most downfield throws and sometimes it wasnt enough. I think he has enough ability to be a solid backup in the NFL, but his physical skill set is limited.

  22. cmdrsmooth says: Dec 27, 2012 11:27 PM

    Now if Tebow would just admit that he can’t really play QB, Sanchez admit he is not much of a leader and Rex admit he is clueless on Offense the Jets can start over.

  23. rodgers419 says: Dec 27, 2012 11:37 PM

    He wasn’t dumb to hide it. He was dumb to admit it. People have played with worse but little baby McElroy can’t play with a headache? My 6 year old daughter gets headaches and I send her to school anyway. A person in McElroy’s position in the NFL has very limited opportunities to show what they have. He just lost one and maybe his final one because he’s soft.

  24. turfrage says: Dec 27, 2012 11:51 PM

    Players need to make up their minds and quit sounding like hypocrites. They hide symptoms and play anyway when it benefits them, then blame the league when damage is done?? Really? The league is trying to help, and they undermine it at every turn, then try to sue when they’re retired and broke.

  25. lostsok says: Dec 28, 2012 12:02 AM

    God works in mysterious ways.

  26. rg3isvictory says: Dec 28, 2012 12:55 AM

    Nobody but the person with the concussion is responsible for letting the medical staff or anybody else for that matter know about the concussion.

  27. dudeicle says: Dec 28, 2012 1:10 AM

    didn’t see the game…. did that dude get a 15 yard penalty for going to one knee to celebrate a sack?

  28. trbowman says: Dec 28, 2012 1:15 AM

    Fully get why Greg McElroy tried to hide it. This is his big chance, maybe only one he’ll get. Talk about tough luck.

    I’ve had a concussion and it’s awful. I know the feeling. For me I could’ve just spent all day lying in bed with the lights off. Lights from street lamps and even from the TV and computer screen were brutal. I felt almost like a zombie. I didn’t want to leave the house except at night due to the sun feeling so strong. I had awful headaches and sensory disturbances, almost feeling out of touch with my body except for the physical pain. It sucks.

    Can’t imagine what’s it’s like for these ball players who’ve had more, maybe way more than just one. Hope McElroy gets healthy and gets a fair opportunity next season.

  29. kozbee says: Dec 28, 2012 1:18 AM

    Isnt having a concussion a normal thing for McElroy,i remember him getting his bell rung in 2010 Ironbowl. 28/27 loss to Auburn after being ahead by 24 points.Worse loss in Bama history.

  30. lgwelsh1 says: Dec 28, 2012 1:27 AM

    He took a lot of big hits last week, the guy obviously wants to keep playing but at least he was smart to realize he was having difficulty. He probably never had a full blown concussion before last week.

  31. superputman says: Dec 28, 2012 2:13 AM

    Maybe he didn’t say anything because he wasn’t thinking clearly… I have no proof to back this up… other than, well, he had a concussion.

    Maybe his teammates didn’t say anything because, when given the 2 alternatives, the guy with brain damage looks pretty good.

  32. glowingstone says: Dec 28, 2012 7:01 AM

    brianjoates says: Dec 27, 2012 10:45 PM

    “Its only at the NFL level that players are not encouraged to play through pain because they are investments to billionaires.”
    —–

    That’s ridiculous. These guys get pounded week in and week out by guys who weigh 200-300+ lbs and run like the wind. They play with pulled muscles, strained ligaments, and occasionally with broken bones. They are expected to pay through pain precisely because they *are* investments with a limited shelf life. Repeated concussions are a whole different issue. People don’t commit suicide because their legs are achy twenty years after they’ve retired.

    I don’t blame McElroy for keeping quiet. His stock with the other players has probably risen a bit, as well as with the coaching staff.

  33. denverdude7 says: Dec 28, 2012 7:20 AM

    Roger Goodell is preparing a new fine as we speak. Conduct Detrimental To Yourself – $25,000 1st offense.

  34. wabbitslayer says: Dec 28, 2012 7:51 AM

    Nobody told = McElroy plays.
    Anybody tells = Sanchez plays.

    Does anybody really wonder why none of the players said anything?

  35. zaggs says: Dec 28, 2012 8:39 AM

    Guess he’s secured future funding via lawsuits against the NFL after he retires.

  36. freedogin says: Dec 28, 2012 9:57 AM

    The Jets could use a guy like Alex Smith next year. Would rather see Alex with the Bucs and let the Bucs trade Freeman to the Jets but that will never happen.

  37. azarkhan says: Dec 28, 2012 11:21 AM

    I don’t see the difference between McElroy playing with a concussion or The Sanchito playing as if he has a concussion.

  38. packh8er says: Dec 28, 2012 12:30 PM

    Since this seems to always happen and the NFL wants to say they’re serious they need to start punishing teams and player that have a player return to the field like that and end up being concussed if they want it to stop. Have the player serve a 1 game suspension, which would make them more inclined to sit out the rest of a game than miss another entire game. On top of that have the team lose something like a 7th round draft pick, a hefty fine or lose a little cap space the following season. You will surely see less concussed players running back into the same game that way and we can forget about the term concussion like symptoms then.

  39. sandy102270 says: Dec 29, 2012 12:26 AM

    “The most alarming aspect of this story is that multiple teammates were aware of McElroy’s concussion symptoms, and yet they did nothing to alert the coaching staff or trainers to the situation. Though on one hand they would have been violating a confidence, they also would have been showing genuine concern for a teammate’s health — and if McElroy would have had a problem with it, it would have been his problem.”

    Were you an only child? Tell on one of your brothers, and it becomes everyone’s problem.

    It may not be smart, but it is reality.

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