Calvin Johnson: Get concussed, keep playing, it’s part of football


Lions receiver Calvin Johnson says a concussion isn’t necessarily going to take him out of a game.

Johnson, who took a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway two weeks ago, briefly left that game to get checked for a concussion but was able to return. That presumably means the Lions’ medical staff found that he didn’t have a concussion, although Johnson told 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit that he doesn’t think getting concussed is a good reason to leave a game.

“He rung my bell pretty good, he got me, he caught me around the chin, that was a good hit,” Johnson said. “It’s a part of football, you get concussed, you gotta keep on playing. You can’t get afraid to go across the middle any more than you were at the beginning.”

Johnson said the concussion test the Lions’ staff gave him was relatively simple.

“They come and do the little test with the finger . . . ask you what day, what game it is, stuff like that,” Johnson said.

When the process works the way the NFL says it’s supposed to work, the medical staff has the authority to keep a player off the field if he can’t pass that test. Like many players, Johnson would rather be able to make that decision himself.

59 responses to “Calvin Johnson: Get concussed, keep playing, it’s part of football

  1. Statements like this make me think that the concussion lawsuits are complete bull. These lie about taking a head shot and keep playing. The concussion “tests” administered are more science fiction than true science. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a guy get his noggin’ cranked, only to see him on the field a few plays later (see Coly McCoy last year and Schaub this year). A total JOKE!!

  2. Wow, this just shows how little the NFL is doing to inform players about the safety and ramifications of concussions/repeated blows to the head. They are all concussions, and if you ask any Neurologist, there is no such thing as a mild concussion. Your brain controls functionality in every part of your body, if it doesn’t function properly you can have balance or judgement issues (frontal lobe) which leads to many types of accidents/falls/etc. whether during your career or after your playing days. This judgement aspect is critical when you combine any sort of drugs/alcohol that result in car accidents, duis, suicide etc.
    Maybe the NFL is trying and some players, like Megatron simply don’t care or won’t believe it until it affects themselves or someone close to them but, we need to do everything possible to make sure we can find a way to make this sink in before it is too late.
    The NFL is faster, more exciting, and with more athletic players than ever before. This makes it more profitable than ever before and will keep owners/Goodell less interested in improving player safety, even though they will have a PR Campaign focusing on it.

  3. Like many players, Johnson would rather be able to make that decision himself.

    Yep, and like most other players, in 20 years he’ll be complaining the NFL didn’t do anything to protect him.

  4. When you are concussed you can’t answer simple questions like that.

    Usually the examining party starts the test by revealing some type of information (for instance, the time or date) and then later asks the patient a question relating to that information.

    At least, this has happened to me whenever I have experienced a concussion.

  5. In a way, this is kind of a tough call.

    We’ve seen it in boxing, where the ref stops the bout on a fighter who is begging him not to call the fight.

    In some cases, it looks like a clear case of protecting the fighter.

    In other cases, it looks like the ref was very pre-mature.

    And in all cases, it is depriving the athlete of their own choice.

    There are also slippery slope consequences. Certain situations will be obvious that the player should be yanked. There are many examples. One notable one is Charger OL Chris Dielman. Dielman was messed up — he needed to be taken off the field.

    But in other situations, you take a shot and then you just clear a few cobwebs and just through it. There are lots examples of athletes kicking tail after getting their “bell rung.” Former Steeler WR Hines Ward and current Steeler Troy Polamalu are two examples of players who got it together after big hits, but were very insistent on returning to the field, persevered, and made game-changing plays. Hinesy and Troy seem fine, and highly acute mentally.

    Just sayin’ — balancing player safety with player discretion has many shades of gray. If you’re too overprotective, that has its downsides too.

  6. They, and the coaching staff, should be able to make the decision themselves. Sign here, here, here, initial here, and let all be absolved.

  7. typical super star, excellent athletic ability and dumber than a box of rocks (keep your mouth shut).

  8. With his statement and the one Urlacher gave earlier this year, how long will it be before teams start insisting on assumption of risk language written specifically into player contracts? Of course the NFLPA will fight it.

  9. Let him talk to some former players who would gladly give back the fame, money and glory to be able to lead a normal life after the 5-10 yrs they played in the NFL.

  10. Can I sue my High School? I was hit hard while playing football… I was never told we would have to get hit.

  11. Calvin Johnson is far from “a dumb superstar” as has been suggested on here. The NFL is lucky to have him represent the league.

  12. Everyone says he’ll be suing the NFL after his career is over but I doubt it we forget that not that long ago guys were not making tens of millions of dollars during their careers most of them need the money.

  13. Lions staff: Calvin how many games have we won?
    CJ: ummm….8 ?
    Lions staff: Good. get on back out there. We need ya.

  14. When I played rugby in my teens and twenties, I took pride in staying in games where I’d literally been knocked out cold on the field and revived with smelling salts.

    Now I am 46 and I have to ask my wife to remind me every morning if we have anything planned. I walk into rooms and can’t remember what I went in there for. I’ll be at my computer working and my mind will wander so far away that I will have to go back and read the document I am working on to remind myself what it is. My mood swings are downright frightening.

    And you can joke that’s just me being a typical guy. But it wasn’t always like this. Nothing debilitating- a have a great profession and a good life- but it’s frustrating, and could have been prevented.

    I’m not passing judgement on anyone. If guys want to play with concussions, it’s their lives. The information is out there- it WILL affect you later in life. If you are willing to live with that, fine. Just accept the consequences of your actions.

    I, personally, wish I would have handled things a little differently.

  15. As far as the NFL informing the players about the dangers of concussions goes, good luck. The world these players operate in makes displaying any kind of self preservation instinct an act of cowardice. In short, “You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can’t make him think.”

  16. “Calvin Johnson: Get concussed, keep playing, retire, wait 10 years, sue the league, it’s part of football”.

    Fix it.

  17. I just get the feeling that all the media is taking this one sentence out of context from the entire quote.

    He says “You can’t get afraid to go across the middle any more than you were at the beginning.”

    I think he’s saying, because you take a hard hit, you can’t alter the way you play, you just have to keep pleying football (throughout the season and your career)

    It’s not, you get concussed, you hide it from the doctor and run out on the field

  18. Oh and leave it up to the Vikings to try to cheap shot Megatron. Lions will take over the Vikes and Packers soon… They are not happy about their lack of effort in the first part of the season. You will see a different lions team this week…

  19. If I was making 20 million a year I too would risk 20 years of my life to honor the commitment a team has pledged to me.

  20. “It’s a part of football, you get concussed, you gotta keep on playing. You can’t get afraid to go across the middle any more than you were at the beginning.”

    Are you kidding me? They all have twisted his words into something he he did not mean.

    He does NOT mean to go to the sideline, fail a concussion test and go back in and play.

    He is simply saying that concussions are part of the game and that after you get one and you recover you can’t be afraid to go across the middle like you did before the concussion.

  21. Watch Calvin be the first in line to sue the NFL when his playing days are over concussions.

  22. This just in: in 10 years Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson is suing the league over failure to educate him on the dangers of concussions ( although he seemed to know all there is to know about them already)

  23. zappa69 says:
    Oct 11, 2012 11:53 AM
    Would have been a clean hit if Calvin didn’t lead with his head. Then they go and fine Chad?


    zappa69, how many concussions have you suffered from? Based on taht statement, I’d say about two dozen. Greenway KNEW what he did, which is why he put his hands up like he did. Calvin didn’t even come close to leading with his head, and Greenway is fortunate he just got fined and not suspended for that hit.

  24. And I thought Calvin Johnson was smart. Johnson’s had a front row seat to watch his teammate, Javid Best, who STILL can’t get cleared a year after his (latest) concussion. Johnson is tough…I get it. He wants to be on the field to help his team…completely understandable. But Megatron is making a mega mistake…to keep playing after suffering a head injury can not only ruin his career, but ruin his life as well.
    His comments (and simiar comments from other players) illustrates that either the NFL’s message about concussions isn’t getting through, or the players don’t care. Its obvious the NFL has to protect the players from themselves.
    I’m reminded of how resistant NASCAR drivers were to the madatory requirement of the use of neck protection/restraint equipment that stemmed from Dale Ernhart’s death. Many drivers didn’t want to use it, and NASCAR said “too bad. This could save your life.”
    That’s what the NFL is doing with the new (and wildly unpopular) rules established to reduce the risk of head injuries. That’s what the NFL has done with the new protocols for suspected concussions.
    As someone who is in the medical field, I have seen hundreds of people with head injuries. It is heartbreaking to see the patients’ quality of life destroyed by long-term disabilities. So, I am happy to see the NFL take measures to protect the players…even if it means the game we all love has to change.

  25. My only problem with this is that kids and teenagers will see this and it will continue to perpetuate the lack of concern football players have over what is a really big deal. This is something that I think should be fined.

  26. Easy for him to say. The guy is so good that he could still catch everything thrown his way in his sleep. He definitely can catch everything while in la la land.

  27. jmoonraker says:
    Oct 11, 2012 1:05 PM
    Oh and leave it up to the Vikings to try to cheap shot Megatron. Lions will take over the Vikes and Packers soon… They are not happy about their lack of effort in the first part of the season. You will see a different lions team this week…

    I applaud this 100%…note the obvious omission of the BEARS from this post.

    It’s nice to see you Lions fans finally coming to terms with your own limitations and ineptitudes.

    Now if only Starscream would, too…

  28. For sure. I mean don’t people understand that these guys are fully aware of the dangers of football. They know concussions and possible brain injury are part of the deal. Just like mine workers and oil rig workers, and crab boat crews know the risks. These guys are not uneducated morons. Some of the people that respond to these posts are though. You act like they had no clue people could get hurt in this non- violent environment. Come on man. You’ve got 250 to 350 pound men smashing into each other for money, fame, and for us fans who love every minute of it. If you don’t like it don’t watch it and quit complaining. It is what it is and kids know the dangers as well as anyone else… It’s the society we live in… Too much whining.. Too much over analyzing… Shut up and play football

  29. How is it players can get fine for big hits, yet doctors have zero penalties for not doing their jobs?

    Every week some player plays with broken nones, concussions, lacerated organs (Romo’s lung last year) etc. But nothing is done to the medical staffs. they ARE the professionals & they purposefully let plays play injured. They should not only be fined, but fired.

  30. Clearly players don’t read articles about HS football players who have been killed because they got a concussion and then got a second one in the same game because they “manned up and kept playing.”

    People are still going to ignore this until a similar death happens on the NFL level.

  31. They know the risks people. Everyone does. Just like every time you start your car and drive down the road you know you could get seriously injured or die. Do you really think people are that ignorant and naive. It’s an insult to a persons intelligence to think otherwise. I agree there needs to be attentiveness to possible concussions to avoid future injury. But to say and act like players don’t know the risks at every level is assanine…Both my boys had to sign waivers to play football this year. We know the risks but we love the game. It’s part of life. Life itself is a risk..

  32. I really think players should just sign a waiver to play. An iron clad waiver so they can;t change their minds later. The real issue is are the team making them play when they don’t want to. In almost ever case the answer in no! To put this in a different perspective. I play hockey. I am almost 50 now, but in the past 5 years I got 2 concussions, one of them pretty severe. Had to go to the doctors. Did I stop playing the game NO!. If you can stop some 50 something washed up has been from playing in a pick up hockey league, do you really expect to ask pro athletes to do it. That is the reality.

  33. New edict from Goodell:

    In order to better educate players on the dangers of concussions, I am hereby ruling that all headshots are legal.

  34. Not sure where the comments about Johnson’s intelligence are coming from? The guy comes from a respected family full of teachers and doctors and he himself got into Georgia Tech’s engineering school. He also happens to be very well spoken and does not come off as arrogant in any way. He is said to be the hardest worker on his team and donates tons of time and money to charity. In all honesty, he is the poster boy for what the NFL wants its image to reflect.

  35. Calvin Johnson scored 41 on the Wonderlic intelligence test which an exceedingly high score. One only has to listen to him speak to understand that he is a very intelligent man.

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