Emmitt Smith says he’d “definitely” lie to doctors to keep playing


Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith once ran for 170 yards and caught 10 passes to lead the Cowboys to a big win over the Giants while playing through a separated shoulder, in a game that NFL Network labeled one of the gutsiest performances in league history. And Smith says that gutting it out on the field through injuries is part of being a great player — even if it means lying to team doctors.

Asked on NBC SportsTalk about Troy Polamalu saying he has lied about concussions in order to keep playing, Smith said he took the same approach during his playing days.

“Oh, most definitely,” Smith said. “At the end of the day, if I can make it happen I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to do what I have to do.”

Smith said he knows now, at age 43, that it’s possible he took risks with his health during his playing days, but he said he never would have thought about that while he was a player.

“How many people think about, ‘Some day I’m going to be 50’ when they’re 20-something years old?” Smith said. “As a young player you can go through certain things that you might not understand the repercussions right then and there because it’s in the moment.”

And even now that he’s had some time in retirement to reflect and to feel the effects of a long NFL career, Smith doesn’t sound like he has any regrets about the way he played the game.

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10 responses to “Emmitt Smith says he’d “definitely” lie to doctors to keep playing

  1. When the proper guidelines to evaluate a concussion are utilized, lying is removed and the safety of the player comes first. You can’t fake the test. The scat2 test is what is used. But the bigger question in sorts remains: Who decides the safety of the player? The coach who wants to win? The player? Or the healthcare provider who is only concerned with the safety of the player?

  2. Too many times a player, young non professional athlete (our kids) are thrown back in the game prematurely, creating a greater risk both long and short term.

  3. let me get this straight, these players are lying about concussions they suffered so that they can stay in the game and when they are retired, they sue the league for concussion issues they have??

  4. Good point. So it is the system that needs revising; the control (or lack thereof) of who decides if a player returns to play that matters. That is what matters, the rest is secondary

  5. If I was in a contract year on tap for a multi-million dollar contract, I would certainly lie to the doctors to keep playing.

  6. Emmitt Smith is in the top five to ever play the game he had it all character, charisma, and above all else he had respect for the game so much heart I miss watching him play the cowboys team he was on dominated on and off the field. My dream is to one day meet Mr. Smith he should look into coaching

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