Report: Polamalu will play despite more “concussion-like” symptoms

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In mid-October, Steelers safety Troy Polamalu suffered “concussion-like” symptoms after a “head” injury.

That’s just how the Steelers like to classify concussions.  Polamalu was knocked out of Sunday night’s game with a similar problem, which caused some speculation Monday that Polamalu could miss an extended period of time.

Polamalu has a history of concussions dating back to college, so it would seemingly make sense for the Steelers to play it safe things safe. They could sit Polamalu with the playoffs still six weeks away.

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that’s not going to happen.

“Troy Polamalu is fine and will play versus Bengals. He was clear and lucid by halftime but kept out because of league rules,” Dulac writes.

Perhaps Polamalu’s history of concussions helps explain why the Steelers love using the phrase “concussion-like symptoms” instead of just admitting Polamalu has suffered two concussions in the last six weeks.  They want the flexibility to keep playing him.

We just hope Polamalu doesn’t suffer any “concussion-like symptoms” that he can’t recover from.

62 responses to “Report: Polamalu will play despite more “concussion-like” symptoms

  1. Or perhaps he didn’t suffer a concussion and really is fine. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. That makes 2 things we have in common.

  2. There is something that my grandfather always talked about as “the smell test”, and I’m sure 90%+ of PFT readers are familiar with said test.

    This does NOT pass the smell test. The longer teams flaunt their disregard for head injuries the more likely it is rules are forced down their throat. They should be proactive and actually get the procedures on their own terms vs. having terms shoved down their throats.

  3. There is a diagnosis for “concussion-like symptoms” – it’s called a freaking concussion.

    Leave it to the Steelers to cheat using someone’s long-term well being to do it.

  4. You guys make it sound like the Steelers ran him back in there last night a series after he took the hit to the head. What, you don’t like their wording? I just don’t get you guys with your articles.

  5. You would thing the Steelers would be a little more sensitive to the results of head trauma considering the number of former Steelers who have died at a relatively young age. This franchise is a disgrace in the manner it handles these situations. Players will always push the envelope when it comes to returning to play. The franchise should be the responsible party and not an enabler.

  6. So now if any player gets their bell rung, they should stay out of that game plus the next one regardless of what symptoms they have?

    If this were the case, no one would ever report any head injury.

    The bottom line for concussions are that the doctors and training staff are limited in thier diagnosis of head injuuries based on what the player tells them. And players aren’t going to tell the training staff anything if they have to miss too much time.

    If this were the case last years, Aaron Rodgers would have had to come out of the NFCCG against the Bears after taking a shot to the head. Then he would have had to sit out the SuperBowl, if they would have made it, because he had a concussion earlier in the year.

    This is a slipper slope.

  7. Whatever.

    If 1) Polamalu wants to play with that sort of reckless abandon and 2) the Steelers don’t care about their players’ health and 3) the Steelers’ players don’t care about their health…well, then there’s not much anyone else can do.

    That is, as long as they realize that the tenth anniversary celebration of the Steelers’ sixth Super Bowl victory won’t include anyone still alive from the sixth Super Bowl team.

  8. There are a multitude of symptoms associated with concussions. If Troy was dizzy after that play, he suffered concussion-like symptoms. But you guys do realize that a CT scan is the only sure-fire way to determine whether or not someone had a concussion, right?

    In other words, just because you had your bell rung, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve suffered a concussion. Given Polamalu’s history, it certainly is likely that HE suffered one because it’s easier get a concussion if you’ve had one before. But that is not the case for everyone.

    So, without a complete medical examination, “concussion-like symptoms” is indeed the proper diagnosis.

    Of course, since every time a Steelers’ player has suffered “concussion-like symptoms” the team has kept them out of the game, your point regarding semantics is moot.

    Three times this year, the Steelers have kept a player on the bench after suffering a dizzying blow to the head, which means all three times the Steelers have played it safe when it comes to head injuries.

    Why don’t you focus your attention to the teams that haven’t pulled players after scary hits?

  9. League should put its money where its mouth is and fine the Steelers for flagrantly abusing the concussion protocols in place.

  10. He’s going to be shaking like a leaf before he’s 40. And with the way he launches head first on almost every tackle, he puts himself at even greater risk.

  11. Concussion-like symptoms are a concussion. It is damage to the players’ brain. Save your money Troy, invest well with somebody you trust. You are going to need all of it to pay for your care when you look like Ali at age 50. I hope this will not be his fate, but the truth is it probably will come to pass.

  12. UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program
    The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Sports Medicine Concussion Program, established in 2000, is the first of its kind and largest ongoing clinical service and research program that focuses on the diagnosis, evaluation and management of sports-related concussion in athletes of all levels.

    The program’s internationally known team of clinicians and researchers are world leaders in studying the neurocognitive effects of sports-related concussion and pioneering the development of better methods of post-concussion evaluation to determine when it is safe for an athlete to return to sports. The team provides oversight and consultation to assist sports teams’ medical staff in making objective return-to-play decisions after the occurrence of sports-related concussion.

    The program’s director is Michael (Micky) Collins, Ph.D. In addition to working with professional athletes, Dr. Collins’ goal with the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program is to help make a sophisticated and standardized concussion evaluation system available to high school-age and younger athletes worldwide. Dr. Collins was heavily involved in the development of the first computerized testing system to objectively evaluate the severity of concussions and more accurately determine when an athlete can safely return to contact play following a concussion. The system is called ImPACT™ (Immediate Post-Concussion and Cognitive Testing). Today ImPACT is the most widely used and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system, and its use worldwide among professional, college and high school sports teams continues to grow rapidly.

    In addition to developing and providing first-of-its-kind clinical evaluation and management of sports concussions, UPMC Sports Concussion Program researchers have published in major medical journals numerous groundbreaking research study results concerning the effects of and recovery from sports-related concussions in high school and college athletes. These studies have had significant implications for what have been commonly used return-to-play guidelines because the findings suggest that the effects of even a mild concussion may be more serious than previously thought.

    Other members of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program team are Joseph Maroon, M.D., professor of neurological surgery and Pittsburgh Steelers team neurosurgeon; and Charles (Chip) Burke, III, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery, Pittsburgh Penguins team physician and director of the National Hockey League’s concussion program.

  13. It’s amazing the NFL is allowing stuff like this to fly given they’re currently facing litigation from past players claiming they didn’t do enough to limit brain injuries. You know the players’ lawyers are going to trot out examples like this and force the NFL to explain how “it’s all about player safety” while they allow guys with “concussion-like symptoms” to go out and get their bell rung the very next game. I smell a huge win/settlement coming to these past players.

  14. Wow, I am impressed. I didn’t know there were so many doctors posting on PFT, that can give so many facts about what a concussion is and more specifically whether or not Troy had one. We are very fortunate.

    I guess we shouldn’t rely on the Steelers organization and team physicians that might have some liability if they did the wrong thing. Who cares if they kept Clark out of the game last year at Denver, or that they kept Ben out when he was diagnosed with a concussion, or that Troy didn’t come back in to play yesterday.

    Let’s just rely on all the doctors on board here. Thanks all.

  15. You don’t need to be a doctor to realize a guy is probably concussed when he stumbles around on the field after taking a hit. Once that happens, you need to send him to the doctor for a diagnosis and the doctor will determine whether further screening is necessary. The diagnosis relies on physical and neurological exams that don’t necessarily rely on the word of the player (lack of motor and cognitive functions and symptoms of that nature are pretty hard to hide).

    Whether or not a guy plays in the next game can only be determined by follow-up screening and must be determined on an individual basis. There’s no other way to know whether a guy can or can’t play.

    The Orioles lost Brian Roberts last year because of a concussion. He didn’t even hit his head, all he did was slide into first base. He was out for the whole year. The severity of the concussion has little to do with the severity of the hit that caused it, if there was any at all.

    My point is that it’s wrong to assume that Polamalu can’t play just because he had a concussion last week. But it’s also wrong to assume that he can. Both assumptions are wrong, but one has the potential for much more dire consequences than the other.

    For his sake, I hope he’s sufficiently evaluated and medically cleared before they put him back on the field. I would expect the same thing from my own team. As much as I love football, I don’t want to jeopardize the lives of the players that are putting themselves on the line for my entertainment.

  16. @johntonioholmes

    “But you guys do realize that a CT scan is the only sure-fire way to determine whether or not someone had a concussion, right?”

    I’m not sure where you got this from, since most concussions aren’t even detectable via CT scan.

  17. I’m not a doctor. Don’t claim to be. Not a Steelers fan either. But doesn’t it make sense to keep your guy out for a week or so if he’s showing these types of symptoms? If he was “lucid by half” then what the heck was he before that. This shows me the Steelers don’t care about their people… and apparently their people don’t care about themselves either. Sad.

  18. Honestly, I’m kind of sick and tired of hearing/reading/watching about “concussions” and “protecting the players” and other related nonsense.


    It’s a game. A VIOLENT game. One in which the athletes which CHOOSE to participate in make hundreds of thousands (if not MILLIONS) of dollars… per YEAR.

    Sure, it’s entertainment, at their expense. Yet they are handsomely compensated for it. Get over it. You want to know who isn’t handsomely compensated? Soldiers. Who DIE doing what they also CHOOSE to do what they do.

    So long as people know first and foremost the risks and implications of their involvement with football, I will lose absolutely zero sleep over any and all injuries that occur as a result of said involvement with football. It’s a known risk, and people take it.

    How many readers would pass up millions of dollars a year even if they knew that there was a 2% (or whatever it is) chance that they could be maimed, paralyzed, deformed, permanently damaged, or possibly even killed? Not very many I imagine.

  19. That’s just wrong. I thought the league had a protocol for dealing with concussions? The tough guy moron Rez who posted above hasn’t a clue what he is talking about when it comes to head trauma.

  20. I’ve seen and read quite a few interviews with Troy, and he seems to be an extremely intelligent man. I tend to doubt that he’d risk playing if he did indeed have a concussion and risk jeopardizing his career and life.
    The Steelers can – and have won without him before. We can speculate all we want – but only Troy and the doctors know if he’s able to play or not.

  21. You could ask Mike Webster how well the Steelers medical staff took care of him after all of his concussions… if he hadn’t died from “concussion like symptoms”.

    A great player who deserved a better fate.

  22. “but one has the potential for much more dire consequences than the other.”

    Obviously you’ve never been to western PA in december. When the steelers play poorly, it’s pretty dire.

  23. rarson says: Nov 28, 2011 8:10 PM

    “But you guys do realize that a CT scan is the only sure-fire way to determine whether or not someone had a concussion, right?”

    I’m not sure where you got this from, since most concussions aren’t even detectable via CT scan.

    it is if you’ve sustained a subdural hematoma…

  24. The drool mods are running amuck yet again. Deleting everything they don’t agree with. Probably because they got a drool problem themselves. This should be deleted soon.
    What a biased site.

    TP’s playing life span will be shorter than most safeties simply because he does not know how to tackle correctly. o.k. delete away.

  25. Concussions are serious business. “Concussion-like” symptoms have shortened the lives of many former NFL players. I like Polamalu, but I worry he will be one of them. For all of you making a mockery of this, shame on you.

  26. @rarson

    It was very poor wording on my part. I meant to say that the only sure-fire way to know if someone had a concussion would be to do a full-medical examination. The only way to do a full medical examination is o have a CT on hand.

    I rewrote and deleted part of that first paragraph which is why it says what it does.

    To summarize my post: Concussions cause a lot of symptoms–dizziness, loss of memory, nausea, etc…

    If Troy was dizzy after the hit, he would have experienced “concussion-like symptoms.” That’s not necessarily a concussion.

    I’m going off my experience. When I was 16, I ran full speed into a kid 70 lbs heavier than me, while he was coming the other way in a game of flag football. I banged my head off of his shoulder and was dizzy for a little bit afterward. I had no other signs of a concussion, bu t I was pulled from the game for the same reason Troy was.

    Maybe he had everything–dilated pupils, disorientation, slurred speech–I don’t know. And neither does PFT.

  27. Of course Troy says he is OK, dude is a warrior. Of course Tomlin is gonna lie about his condition. He is not concerned about the long term health of his players. He did the same word dance with Ward a couple of weeks ago. These two are not responsible for the obvious negligence, I put the blame on Goodell for not enforcing the new rules.

  28. wake up and smell the coffee Steelers. Take a page from the penguins book. Look at how well Sidney Crosby has been since his recovery taking it the “safe” route . Football is way more vicious than hockey. Show that you care about your players well being off the field as well. It would be a shame to watch a future H.O.F’s career cut short to force the issue against the bungles. But IDK they seem to say anything to put their “jersey-sellers” out there. aka roethlisberger and troy.

  29. Hey Troy, are concussion-like symptoms similar to head-detaching symptoms? (Let’s ask Hines, shall we?)~just saying…

  30. this is sad to me..and im sure to nfl fans across the nation. multiple concussions are very serious and ultimately can end a players career. i would hate to see troy get out on the field and get another concussion that can possibly end his career. hes in my opinion the best defensive player in the nfl. one of the all time greats. im praying for you troy

  31. Hate the Steelers…love Polamalu. He has had his bell rung at least once the last four years it seems. Life is more important than this! I don’t want this guy to have neurological issues after his career is over.

    No reason to play if there is even a question.

  32. @30octavefart

    “it is if you’ve sustained a subdural hematoma…”

    A subdural hematoma is a serious head injury, aka NOT a normal concussion. So, as I said, MOST concussions aren’t detectable via CT scan.


    “I meant to say that the only sure-fire way to know if someone had a concussion would be to do a full-medical examination.”

    Well then I guess it’s unfortunate since you didn’t say anything remotely similar to that. Because what you said was completely wrong. As in not even remotely close to being correct. Because you said a CT scan was the ONLY SURE-FIRE WAY of diagnosing a concussion. You can call that poor wording, I just call it talking out your ass.

  33. I’m a Dan of TP, dude should think about his health over what the “medical staff” of Pittsburg think. I hope he’s ok and doesn’t play concussed. Hate to see his career end early because of an ignorant medical staff

  34. Don’t be angry at a professional football player for wanting to play…

    Don’t be angry at a coach for allowing a player to play…

    If you want to do something constructive…start asking questions about the quality of today’s football helmets.

    It is time for the NFL to mandate added padding on the outside of the rock hard plastic shell.

    I encourage others to take a look for solutions, such as the Pro Cap.

  35. The Steelers did nothing wrong here.
    Were all of you at the Steelers Facility yesterday when Troy was examined?
    Do you realize that the Steelers training facility was built by UPMC, the medical center in the forefront of concussion research?

    Do any of you know what an Impact test is? A player takes a baseline test on the computer at the start of the season. Within 24-48 hours of a head injury, the player takes the test again to see the severity of the head injury. This test is used from Youth Leagues up to the Pro’s. Guess who sponsors the cost of Youth league in PGH? The Steelers.

    What should the NFL fine the Steelers for? Following procedures

    What did Tomlin lie about? Nothing.

    Why is this such a big deal. Because PFT doesn’t like it and they are choosing to make a big deal about it.

    Move on to another subject people

  36. Are these guys kidding me. The Steelers should take care of Troy, even if they and him want to play. Sit him out for a couple of games. I still cant believe that they want to play him after having a concussion this week.

  37. The Stillers are the new version of the 70s Raidahs.
    Similarities such as:
    1. Unlawful and unlikeable people on the team (Rapelisburger, “Bush caused 911” Mendenhall, “One More Drink” Ward, “I Can Only Hit Illegally” Harrison, “I Have No Brain” Clark…),
    2. Skirting and/or ignoring NFL Rules – cellphone use on the sideline, illegal hits (spearing with the top of the head), concussion rules, etc.,
    3. Whenever the NFL comes down on their skirting/ignoring the established rules, they claim a conspiracy against them.
    4. A team that all but die hard fans despise.

    They should be renamed the Pittsburgh Raidahs.

  38. Polamalu is smart and by no means does he “live to play football”. He gets paid a lot of money. But as a Steeler fan I have say that I believe the Steelers can beat Cincinnati without Troy so I wish they would sit him for another week or two so he can be ready for their annual push for Super Bowl glory

  39. How are the Steelers breaking the rules?

    They sat down Troy for the game after the injury. There is NOTHING in the rules that state you HAVE to state a player had a concussion while the game is still in action or even after the game.

    Teams are not required to report injuries until Wednesday when teams release their initial injury report. There is NO requirement for a team to give an immediate report on ANY injury.

    This season the Steelers HAVE sat down every player that showed signs of a concussion and waited till the following days to make the offical announcement. The Steelers have been very responsible in the area of concussions.

  40. jkhart says:Nov 28, 2011 7:37 PM

    I’ve never seen such a crusade against how a team categorizes an injury.


    I know. It is amazing considering there is NO requirement to report an injury until Wednesday. New England Patroits are famous for mulipulating the injury reports, like reporting a player is doubtful on Saturday and that player is at 100% Sunday. NFL Teams are always hedging the Injury Report and no one cares.

    In this case, it is the Pittsburgh Steelers, there is just so much blind hate, they can not do any right according to some people.

  41. Funny how the Stillers are the only NFL team that hasn’t reported a concussion since the new concussion rules were implemented. All of their head injuries are glossed over by the team and team “doctors” so that they can avoid having them take, and pass, the concussion tests that could keep the players out of multiple games.

    That says that they find winning a game much more important than the brain health of their players. That is just wrong!

  42. If you listen close, you can almost hear
    Mike Webster spinning in his grave.

    It’s obvious to everyone outside Pennsylvania
    that this team doesn’t give a damn what happens
    to their players after they are done playing ball…

  43. Perhaps this will teach him to finally wrap up and tackle instead of leading with his head going for the big hit.

    That being said, I didn’t think it looked bad enough to warrant him being out another game.

  44. He is getting old, fat, and alot slower than he used to be. As a Bengal fan, I hope he does play this Sunday. Steeler fans will use his absence as an excuse if the Bengals win. Besides, A.J. Green torched him for a long touchdown in the last game, an obvious mismatch. I hope he is playing this Sunday so we can see another exhibition of his aging skills against a much younger team. Oh wait, if he does get showed up, steeler fans will say that he was playing with a concussion. The Steeler organization will always have an excuse for losing or find a dirty way to win.

  45. A.J. Green did not torch polamalu it was a jump ball in the back of the end zone n even tho Polly was there it was Ryan Clarks assignment.
    Even tho the bungals are showing real promise for the future remember that mike brown runs the show in cicncy.

  46. mike Webster played from 74-88 with the steelers, not saying those were midevil times or anything but I’m quite sure medical treatment has evolved immensely since then. btw Webster isn’t the only player in NFL history that died early from football related injuries.

  47. Again, the Steelers led the league in pushing for tougher concussion standards and were one of the first teams to have a neurologist on the field–long before the league even talked of concussion standards. Since they took these actions on their own without any prodding from Goodell, I doubt they’re ignoring their own standards when it comes to their own players.

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