Questions arise as to whether Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion

Lost in the chatter after the Bears-Packers game regarding a quarterback who didn’t play after suffering a knee injury is the question of whether a quarterback in the same game played with a head injury.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took a helmet to the jaw from Bears defensive end Julius Peppers with less than 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and the Packers leading 14-7.  On the field, much of the discussion in the aftermath of the play and the personal foul it drew focused on whether Peppers deserved to be flagged.  Obviously, he did.  The reverse angle shows Rodgers’ head getting rattled by the placement of Peppers’ helmet into Aaron’s ear hole.

It was less clear to us whether Rodgers was exhibiting the obvious symptoms of someone who has suffered a concussion.  Since then, it’s been tempting to wonder whether Rodgers willed himself to get up and hold it together after taking a hit that, given his two concussions during the regular season, easily could have resulted in a third.

Shawn Doherty of Madison.com’s The Capital Times delves into question of whether Rodgers suffered a concussion, and whether the Packers failed to attempt to diagnose it.  In this regard, Doherty writes that Rodgers looked “woozy and wobbling about with dazed eyes.”  If anything, Rodgers looked to us like, at worst, a guy who was fighting to not seem woozy and wobbly, since he realized that if he seemed woozy and wobbly he’d be evaluated for yet another concussion — and possibly yanked from the game.

We agree with Doherty regarding the fact that FOX didn’t say much (if anything) about the possibility that Rodgers had suffered another concussion.  Joe Buck pointed out that Rodgers has had two concussions during the season, Troy Aikman said that Rodgers was “blown up” on the play, but there was never any talk about whether the hit gave Rodgers a new concussion.

And if FOX cameras captured images of Rodgers being checked out after that drive by doctors, those images never made their way from the truck to the satellite.  (Possibly because of all the “Disinterested Jay” images that were being sent through the pipes.)

Regardless of whether Rodgers suffered a concussion, this situation highlights the need for having a “safety official” in the booth who has the job of ensuring not that players are prevented from playing once they’ve been diagnosed as having concussions, but that they are prevented from playing until they’ve been cleared, if they’ve taken a blow to the head that the safety official believes requires an examination.

Such an approach would create a greater incentive for guys like Peppers to pop Rodgers.  As a result, greater penalties and fines and suspensions would have to be imposed to keep defenses from deliberately trying to inflict a blow to the head and thus knock the starting quarterback out of a game.

Still, if the league wants to give credibility to its approach to concussions, a guy who has taken a big hit to the head shouldn’t be allowed to bluff his way around the medical staff, heroic as such behavior might be regarded — especially in a game that has raised questions regarding whether the other starting quarterback did enough to fight the decision to pull him from the game with a knee injury.

Not every concussion causes a player to lose his ability to walk and talk and otherwise act like a guy who hasn’t suffered a concussion.  In Rodgers’ case, he was smart enough before the play to know that he needs to not look like a guy who has suffered a concussion if he wants to keep playing in the biggest game of his life — and it’s possible that he was still smart enough to know that after the play, even if he indeed suffered a concussion from the crushing hit he received.

The question now becomes whether Rodgers is feeling any effects of the hit, like headaches or dizziness since Sunday night, and whether he’ll say anything to anyone about it.

If he is, we don’t expect him to say a word.  The stakes are too high, and the stage is too big.  Besides, we fully support the ability of grown men to embrace known risks.  If we were in Rodger’s shoes and if our ability to quarterback the Packers in a Super Bowl potentially would be lost by talking about the headaches and dizziness we were suffering, we wouldn’t say a word about it.

And we suspect that most of you reading this would handle it the same way.

87 responses to “Questions arise as to whether Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion

  1. but…. if he played with a concussion, isnt that against the new rules? now the Packers are cheaters??

  2. “Besides, we fully support the ability of grown men to embrace known risks. If we were in Rodger’s shoes and if our ability to quarterback the Packers in a Super Bowl potentially would be lost by talking about the headaches and dizziness we were suffering, we wouldn’t say a word about it.”

    Earlier in the article you said you wanted to see an official in the booth who watched for hits to the head and then pulled the player to be evaluated and then you end the article with the above…is this some kind of a contradiction? You say it shouldn’t be left up to the player and then you say you support leaving it up to the player…which is it?

    I don’t have a problem with Rodgers playing after taking the hit even if he was woozy…so yes I would do the same thing that he did and I DON’T support an official watching head shots. I understand your point, but don’t agree. I don’t think the league needs to do this to be taken seriously.

  3. I wondered the same. But it looked to me his chin and lip took most of the abuse. I’m sure that dirty hit it hurt like hell.

    But you seem to be hell-bent on creating any controversy about Rodgers that you can. Careful… you’ll have to write another apology letter.

  4. One of the really interesting tidbits from some recent concussion studies was that the strength of the hit wasn’t necessarily proportional to the risk of suffering a concussion.

    I’m completely glossing over the details of the study here, but one conclusion was basically that on hits directly to the head where the researches were sure significant damage would occur, they found little. They had a hard time identifying exactly which kinds of hits were the worst, though I think they found that those involving some kind of whiplash were the worst – where a player’s head whips and hits the turf, for example, or where a player is running full speed in one direction but then is hit hard and knocked instantly in the other direction.

    The point is, you can’t know just by looking at the hit, and it’s unfair to assume that Rodgers was concussed just because to a completely amateur and untrained eye it seems for certain he would be.

    And FWIW, to this untrained eye he seemed more than fine during and after the game.

  5. Peppers should have been ejected for that play. It appeared pretty dirty – basically an attempt to win the game by delivering a kill shot, and there were not one, but two Bears hitting Rodgers in the head on that play.

    If the NFL is serious about this, Peppers will be suspended to start the 2011 season.

    What was even more appalling was Urlacher crying like a girl over what was an easy and correct call.

  6. This whole discussions will only inflame the Cutler situation by comparison, when the two really are not comparable.

  7. Oh and I love this REPORTER’S “diagnosis” of Rodgers based on watching t.v. hundreds of miles away based on his “gaze”. Leave the medicine to the doctors examining a patient live, not some amateur hour hack wannabe watching a football game on television.

  8. “The stakes are too high, and the stage is too big.”

    Are you kiddin’ me??

    Aaron Rogers wouldn’t miss this game for the world!

  9. @Matt-NC

    That’s one of the easiest ways to suffer a concussion. Example: Troy Aikman, who took a couple shots to the chin and had to sit out as a result of a concussion.

  10. Impressive, I didn’t think it was possible for Aaron Rodgers to look like the bad guy for Peppers cheap shot to the head, but you did it!

  11. Arguing for a game nanny, you say:
    “this situation highlights the need for having a “safety official” in the booth who has the job of ensuring not that players are prevented from playing…”

    Then you close with:
    “Besides, we fully support the ability of grown men to embrace known risks.”

    Which is it?

  12. Rodgers changed helmets to the new safer helmet the league has been pushing after his second concussion.

    He said in post-game comments that he feels that saved him getting #3.

  13. Peter King already addressed this in his Monday Morning QB – Tuesday edition. He said Rodgers did not suffer a concussion (King spoke to him after the game) and that he was wearing his new, safer helmet.

    Rodgers said he probably would have suffered a concussion if he was wearing his old helmet.

    He also said the Peppers hit hurt a lot.

  14. “Since then, it’s been tempting to wonder whether Rodgers willed himself to get up and hold it together after taking a hit that, given his two concussions during the regular season, easily could have resulted in a third.”

    It has been proven by the concussion experts and well documented that the event of suffering a concussion is an independent event and has no bearing or makes the probability greater of getting another one. Use the facts and not your opinions to write your articles please.

  15. With the new thumbs up and down you can really see that packer fans are everywhere…they will thumbs down anything that might appear negative about their team or qb…

    That being said I think the packers deserve to be in the super bowl…they have overcome a lot of adversity this season and won 3 road games…and Rodgers has shown he is the man in GB. He definitely has my respect.

    Now that I’ve said that…I do wish the Bucs would’ve taken that last seed. (go ahead and thumb me down pack!)

  16. Peter King’s MMQB Tuesday Edition indicates that Rodgers was wearing one of the new improved helmets that the League wants all players to wear. Perhaps, as a result, he didn’t suffer a concussion.

    Just sayin…

  17. It wouldn’t matter if a doctor told Aaron Rodgers and the league that he could suffer permanent brain damage if he plays. Aaron would obviously want to (can’t blame him for that), and Goodell only cares about player safety when it fits his agenda.

  18. What ever you do don’t point out that Rodgers and the Packer offense did nothing in the 2nd half of this game.
    They just want to talk about Cutler’s 1/2 of football instead.

    My comment showing that was deleted twice already.

  19. Where to begin with this trash….

    The hit wasn’t illegal. I am sick and tired of guys who have never played a minute of organized sports thinking they can try to dictate the rule book to us. This hit should not in anyway be illegal. The helmet to helmet contact was incidental and should not have been flagged. As it has been argued, this is football. Hits happen. Deal with it.

    Second, where in the heck did this idea of a safety official come from? Why add another layer of bureaucracy to the game? There are several highly paid medical professionals on the sideline who are more than qualified to make a sideline diagnosis leaps and bounds above some guy in a booth.

  20. As a Steelers fan, I hope Rodgers is OK and 100% for the Super Bowl. I want the Steelers best to play the Packers best!

  21. Did anyone else think Cutler might have gotten a concussion when he was thrown on his back in the endzone towards the end of the first half? It looked to me like his head slammed into the turf pretty hard. (Clean hit.) He was pretty slow to get up. It would explain a lot, like why he couldn’t remember a knee injury that most people not only feel but hear.

  22. Yeah I don’t understand why the only stories about Rodgers you put out are negative? You speculated wildly about Rodgers character without knowing any facts, now you’re speculating wildly about his healthy based on one hit and your interpretation of his body language. Sure it’s possible he had a concussion, but he would have shown obvious symptoms of a concussion since it’s his 3rd in a couple months. The first two concussions he definitely showed signs, more than just being woozy (which again is your interpretation of his body language) so it’s stands to reason he would have shown pretty obvious signs this time.

    I don’t understand your obvious bias against the Packers and/or Rodgers? I guess you get away with your assumptions and speculation you present as facts because you don’t consider yourself a real journalist and you aren’t, you’re just a blogger. No different than that wierdo Perez Hilton.

    You should limit these negative stories about Rodgers and the Packers to the one-liners where you don’t present this ridiculous speculation as your opinion.

  23. article should say “another ” concussion…once you crack that coconut it’s never the same again.

  24. No need for bigger fines, just make the rule state “if you illegally hit a player that goes out with a concussion, then you are done for the day as well”.

  25. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. I’ve been punched hard enough that I was a little foggy but didn’t have a concussion. Just because you get slammed like Rodgers did by Peppers doesn’t equal concussion. The media would like it to though since no one reads a story line that says “Rodgers Hit Hard But Didn’t Suffer A Concussion”.

    In both of his post game interviews he seemed fine. I’m not a doctor and I can’t diagnose someone on TV even if I was but I know that NFL teams have some of the best sports doctors on the planet. So if it was bad enough to pull him from the game then he would have been pulled.

    Maybe people are getting used to the Jay Cutlers of the world and expect others to act accordingly.

  26. You’ll have to excuse me … I’m not familiar with the famous Shawn Doherty, so I didn’t recognize him on the Packers sidelines when he got that up-close-and-personal look at Rodgers and determined the QB was woozy and dazed. I thought Rodgers appeared clear-eyed during his postgame press conference. Since two weeks will pass before the Super Bowl–plenty of time for any effects from that hit to pass–what useful purpose does Doherty’s speculation serve?

    Team doctors–which I know for the Steelers include a neurologist–are on the field to check players when they see a reason to check them. If some booth safety official requires everything to stop so doctors can administer concussion tests every time a QB hits his head, games will take five hours.

    Head injuries are a serious matter, and the league needs to take them seriously. But that doesn’t mean making wild accusations at teams with no medical data to back them up.

  27. I thought this while watching the game too, especially considering he’d had two already this season.

    That’s a great point about stiffer penalties and fines regarding unsafe hits. As it stands now, in a big game you could potentially send a garbage-time player after the quarterback and knock him out, to your advantage. With the “chump change” these players have to give up right now, this actually sounds like a good stratigic move. I really believe we need to see much loftier fines and suspensions if the NFL really wants to make a dent in this issue.

  28. There is a lot of time between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl so I guess the media needs to create as much nonsense as possible. Reporters are now doctor’s that are able to diagnose watching TV. This is a NON STORY. Can’t wait for the game.

  29. mikea311 says:
    Jan 25, 2011 1:26 PM
    Rodger’s play and accuracy took a serious nosedive after that hit…
    ========================
    Yeah, no it didn’t. Only reason that drive stalled was because Quarless couldn’t bring in a pass that hit him in the friggin hands. If anything, that play knocked him off his rhythm.

    Give some credit to the Bears defense for stepping up and playing desperate and hard and trying to take the game over.

  30. Yes, I think this is a story the media made up just to make the Super Bowl more “interesting”, and to show us how much they know about the game (as insiders).

    This does not have to be a story with the doctors the Packers have available. he could have had an MRI done by Sunday evening or at least by today, to determine if there was any damage or not. If the doctors are concerned, they can bench him. Simple as that. We don’t need sports writers to tell us and the team doctors how to do their jobs.

  31. @rpiotr01

    good post about concussions not being connected well with the appearance of the hit. A few years back the Brewers third baseman Corey Koskie took a stumble chasing a pop foul. He never hit the ground but jolted his head in whipping sort of manner and suffered a concussion that ended his career. This supports the studies results.

  32. chapnastier says:
    Jan 25, 2011 1:50 PM
    Where to begin with this trash….

    The hit wasn’t illegal. I am sick and tired of guys who have never played a minute of organized sports thinking they can try to dictate the rule book to us. This hit should not in anyway be illegal. The helmet to helmet contact was incidental and should not have been flagged. As it has been argued, this is football. Hits happen. Deal with it.
    =============================
    Incidental, like the helmet to helmet hit Frank Zombo got called for in week 3, negating one of Cutler’s picks?

    Sorry, the Peppers hit was a blatant cheap shot. He had plenty of time to alter his body, but he didn’t. He hit him right in the side of the helmet. There was nothing clean about it.

  33. “Tough to tell with Rodgers”, a Packer official admitted ruefully. “Most of the time when he’s on the bench you have to poke him with a pin to see if he’s alive at the best of times.”.

  34. a safety booth official? really? some guy will stop the game completely down so that a guy can get checked out? that could happen on every play conceivably. thats the worst idea ever. if you are hurt stay down (or if you are Cutler just don’t come back in) and if you’re not, get up! why do we need some third party official to tell us someone is hurt?

  35. Of more pressing concern than whether Aaron was concussed (I’m willing to give him and the new helmet the benefit of the doubt…in the slo mo you can see how much the helmit moves on the hit, which would go a long way toward dispersing the kinetic energy) but why aren’t there more calls for Peppers to get a record fine?

    Whether by intent or negligence he went full head-lowered helmet to helmet on a star quarterback that could have cost not only Rodgers the Superbowl, but the league a ton of revenue if the Packers had to play Flynn in two weeks. The man should at least get a quarter million dollar fine, and possibly a suspension.

  36. I think Rodgers drop off was due to the fact that the cold weather was more of a fact than, his phantom concussion. When the Packers came out and were at the warmest, they screamed down the field and scored, and then once again early on still warm they scoooted down the field and scored again. Then the second half I do believe the cold weather did start bugging the offense harder to hang on to the ball. I think thats where the drop off had come from.

  37. Much like the Rodgers walkin thru the airport story, you start with a basic set of facts, jump to wild conclusions and fail to do the most basic level of research that would easily discredit the basis of your original idea.

    All in the name of web hits. Did the premature death of Terry Bradshaw teach you anything?

  38. “…this situation highlights the need for having a “safety official” in the booth…”

    Spoken like a true lawyer. Yes, let’s continue to slow the game down, subject the fans to endless frame-by-frame replays micro-analyzing ever millimeter of game action in order to ensure fair play. Hey, and while the refs huddle up we can sell more commercials!

    Let’s do this instead…screw the safety patrol. Speed up the game by getting rid of instant replay, train full-time refs to do their job correctly, and stick the freakin’ yellow flags in your pocket for all but the most egregious fouls.

    Let the players play and stop turning football into a Harvard Law Review roundtable discussion!

  39. gravedigger93 says: Jan 25, 2011 1:55 PM

    Yeah I don’t understand why the only stories about Rodgers you put out are negative? You speculated wildly about Rodgers character without knowing any facts, now you’re speculating wildly about his healthy based on one hit and your interpretation of his body language.
    ==================================================

    You can’t possibly be serious.

  40. Not a Bears or Packer fan, and I don’t think the hit was “dirty.” Illegal, absolutely, as all helmet to helmet hits are. But I don’t think it was his intention to smack helmets. Keep in mind, Peppers has at least 5 inches on Rodgers, and was running at him full speed, while coming off of a block. Yes, he could have done more to prevent the helmet contact, but I don’t believe for a second he tried to spear him. He was rightfully flagged, and will be justly fined, but it doesn’t appear to be an intentional, cheap head shot.

  41. chapnastier says:
    Jan 25, 2011 1:50 PM
    Where to begin with this trash….

    The hit wasn’t illegal. I am sick and tired of guys who have never played a minute of organized sports thinking they can try to dictate the rule book to us. This hit should not in anyway be illegal. The helmet to helmet contact was incidental and should not have been flagged. As it has been argued, this is football. Hits happen. Deal with it.

    ———————-

    Incidental? You’ve got to be fricken’ kidding me! Watch the replay. Peppers comes in, leading with the crown of his helmet, on a trajectory straight for Rodger’s head. It was a classic, dirty, illegal hit, and I remember being amazed that the Bears were even putting up much of an argument about it.

    I agree that the penalties/fines have been getting out of control and players should not be fined for incidental helmet-to-helmet contact. However, “incidental” contact would be something like a player aiming for the chest and being knocked up into the other player’s helmet, or having the other player duck into the helmet. Not leading the helmet a straight path for an opponent’s head.

  42. That’s a great point about stiffer penalties and fines regarding unsafe hits. As it stands now, in a big game you could potentially send a garbage-time player after the quarterback and knock him out, to your advantage.

    ————-

    Except that with any decent O-line and blockers, a “garbage-time player” would never reach the quarterback. Plus, fielding anyone but your best available players would be terrible strategy.

  43. All I’m reading is a bunch of Rodgers apologists crying about a hit that was not malicious. Get over it!

  44. Wondered the same thing…however if you watch his post game press conference on Packers.com, he seems to be able to recall a high level of detail..dates, plays both during the game and the past.

    Many years ago, Favre was out for one play with a concussion, ran back on the field for one play (he threw a touchdown pass), but later I remember him saying he did not have memories of the game.

    I think it was a strong hit, and it would not be suprising if Rodgers did have a concussion. Face value, says he dodged a bullet.

    Also, no word on fines yet for the helmet to helmet?

  45. Before this years wussification of football everyone on this message board except packers fans would be cheering and applauding that hit as great entertainment. How many times did Reggie White lay people out in the same manner in the 90s.

  46. A safety official? This post highlights the need to have a professional journalist/editor on staff at PFT to filter these ideas and prevent journalist wannabe’s from spouting wild speculation as fact.

    On a related note, most of 3G’s posts highlight the need for a proofreader.

  47. I love the way Packers fans call every hit that Rodgers takes “cheap”. I highly doubt Peppers was thinking “Ok… let me line up to get this exactly right… I’m going to run right at him and, angle my head to the left, hit him on the chin and near the left ear and see if I can’t knock him out of this game… c’mon snap the ball, snap the ball… GOooooooooo!”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if ARodg was concussed. He looked terrible for the rest of the game. His accuracy wasn’t there – he threw into the dirt, overthrew people. It was a pretty stark difference. The Packers would be remiss to not evaluate him appropriately. If he’s concussed and can’t play, he can’t play and that’s that. If he is concussed and they ignore it and he gets hit again so quickly, it could end his career.

    I doubt the Packers organization will do the right thing, though, in terms of evaluation. I hope they prove me wrong for his sake.

  48. @ VikesPrincess

    Shocking that you don’t understand the difference between an illegal hit and a premeditated hit. Helmet to Helmet is against the rules not matter the intent.

  49. He took a big hit. He got up, shook it off, and played the rest of the game. Tough QBs and players have been doing this for years. Your rant was irrelevant, and I’m mad that I wasted 5 minutes even reading it.

  50. I don’t know what footage this Shawn fellow is referring to. But I’ve watched Rodgers after that hit several times now(recorded the game). When he got up, his eyes were focused and his legs were strong. His footwork on following drop backs was fine and his awareness looked to be normal, went through his progressions and specifically was trying to look safeties off of coverage. So if he was “woozy” and “wobly” he had a funny way of showing it. Perhaps this guy is just trying to break a story that isn’t there.

  51. chapnastier’s comments are idiotic. Besides exposing himself as a complete meathead (not a compliment chapnastier, but think you may believe it is), his screed ignores the fact that the hit – by rule (thanks Hocule) – is a penalty. Any contact of the helmet to helmet variety against the quarterback – regardless of intent – is a 15 yard penalty.

    Sorry Mr “you haven’t played the game” tough guy, but you have proved yourself ignorant.

    Stop wasting virtual ink, it isn’t “green-friendly” you assbag.

  52. he still finished with a higher QB rating than fat Ben in Pittsburgh did against the jets. i think he’s fine.

  53. Are you kidding me? If this man suffered a concussion a 3rd this year, it doesnt matter the game, your life is way more important. Besides what happens to the NFL if say one of the Steelers Defensive players hit him in 12 days and concuss him again or kill him. It could happen to much swelling on the brain. A game is a game you can have a 2nd chance…but life is no Game, there is no 2nd chance. God Bless

  54. “Safety Official” — you are such an idiot. How do these people even acknowledge you rather than slap you in the head just like when you where in high school? fkg dork.

  55. A safety official? How bout they just play the game and all the hand wringers go watch badminton.

  56. mikea311 says:
    Jan 25, 2011 1:26 PM
    Rodger’s play and accuracy took a serious nosedive after that hit…
    __________________________________
    No, Rodgers play took a serious nosedive after Cutler’s INT. As did MM’s play calling. I thinkafter that the Pack went into “cautious” mode and decided to either let a 3rd string QB lose it for the Bears or GB’s defense save it. That line of thinking almost cost them but eventually, that is exactly what happened.

    Vike Princess

    All Pack fans don’t think every hit Rodgers takes is cheap. The one from Peppers as well as the hit to the head he took in last years wild card game that was not called however, were.

  57. Anyone who played this “game” above H-S level knows how brutal it is. To be truthful, even in H-S, at least one or two players DIE each year from some type of injury or conditioning problem. All of you people who say this is no big deal, have NEVER been hit by a D-L (PEPPERS) or linebacker, or even a power hitting D-B like Troy. It will absolutely rattle your teeth at a minimum, and I give all the credit in the world to any Q-B who can stand in against the onslaught. This is why I quit the game a long time ago, because I didn’t see the value for me to continue playing.

    So, shut up all you losers who feel Rodgers or even Cutler is not man enough to stay in the game, until you walk a mile as they say, in their shoes.

  58. Peter King already addressed this in his Monday Morning QB – Tuesday edition. He said Rodgers did not suffer a concussion (King spoke to him after the game) and that he was wearing his new, safer helmet.

    Rodgers said he probably would have suffered a concussion if he was wearing his old helmet.

    He also said the Peppers hit hurt a lot.

    aceace28 says:

    Gee, if Peter King, (he is a doctor right?) asks her…..err him, and erin said she is fine, gee, I guesss she was fine…..what a joke.

    I see a very clear James Harrison/Palumalu sandwich, at that point, she’ll be down for good.

  59. Doens’t matter if he has a concussion or not. You think Rodgers is going to sit out — or do you think Goodell will let him? This is ratings gold for Goodell and he’s not going to want a backup QB play in the Super Bowl (no offense to the backup QB).

  60. Having a safety official won’t cut it. The obvious answer is to just suspend play if somebody gets hit hard– or at the very least, sit that player for the next month. It’s the only way to be sure.

  61. I think Rodgers would know if he was concussed or not. He already has been twice. At the VERY least, he should know better than someone with no medical or football experience attempting to diagnose by watching the game on TV. The lengths some people go to for page hits…

    Total classless, Harrison move by Peppers though. Clearly deliberate helmet-to-helmet hit. The guy is simply too talented to have to resort to those tactics. I was disappointed to see him go there.

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