Willie Parker: “If you get a concussion, why would you tell?”

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As the NFL has placed an increased emphasis on quick diagnosis and mandatory time off for players diagnosed with concussions, a number of players have said they would lie about their symptoms if that’s what they had to do to stay on the field. But few players have put it in such stark terms as former Steelers running back Willie Parker.

Asked by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review if the mentality of players wanting to play through concussions will change, Parker said, “Not if you have any fight in you.”

“You have to have fight in you, hunger in you and that dog in you,” Parker continued. “If you get a concussion, why would you tell? Why would you say something?”

The reason you might say something is you might be concerned that if you expose yourself to further contact on the field, you’re risking an even more serious brain injury. But Parker said football players are willing to put their team ahead of themselves.

“For me, it was the team first,” Parker said. “That’s how I looked at it. You don’t want to let your brother next to you down.”

Parker also noted that if you go out with a concussion, you risk having your backup take your job.

“Me, personally, I wouldn’t want to be sitting down,” Parker said. “Once you sit down, you let somebody else come in and get their shot, and I am not about to do that.”

That may be how Alex Smith feels today.

29 responses to “Willie Parker: “If you get a concussion, why would you tell?”

  1. There will always be a sect of players who are willing to risk further harm to their bodies for their team. That’s just not going to change no matter how hard you try.

  2. That’s fine. If the players feel that way, then let them. But please don’t sue later. That’s the only problem. Can’t have it both ways.

  3. Definitely gotta disagree that not playing through a concussion means you have no fight, Willie. Maybe you feel that way but I’m willing to bet the majority of NFL players no longer think that.

    Just another retired player who is out of touch with the NFL today…

  4. Willie Parker: “If you get a concussion, why would you tell?

    I wonder how many former players that are now suing the NFL felt the same?

  5. I definitely understand where he is coming from…but if I am Alex Smith….who has made maybe 60m or more so far? I would be ok with whatever happens…

    The more $$ I had the more conservative with my health I would be…

    Trust me – that whole “team first – don’t let your brother next to you down” is fine for knees,ribs, etc etc – but BRAIN injuries?

    Sorry man – looking out for #1 on those…
    10-20 yrs from now who cares if Kapernick starts the rest of the season – who really cares?

  6. I agree with Parker. There are other factors that contribute to the decision to play after a concussion. Although your health should be put first, a majority of the players are willing to put their body on the line for their family and your can’t forget about their hunger for the game.

  7. Why would you tell?hmmm,Let me think! Because of precautionary reasons..Its your head..possible blood clots, brain damage..Team first? Yeah right.. paycheck first! The NFL is protecting the players because if they dont, it will come and haunt them possibly through a lawsuit..Former players suing the NFL saying the NFL didn’t protect them in the past against concussions and then todays players say they would lie about having a concussion..hahaha! Gosh you all are interesting characters..

  8. The Concussion story is to this Season, what Bounty-Gate was to last Season…Painfully Never-ending, and never a shortage of ‘educated’ opinions.

  9. Remember when Willie Parker used to be in the NFL, and then got a bunch of concussions, and now he isn’t in the NFL anymore?

  10. NFL should make players sign a waiver forfeiting any future legal action, and then let the players all bang their brains to mush if they want to.

  11. “For me, it was the team first,” Parker said.

    Unless he wasn’t getting the ball enough, then it was all about Willie.

  12. I’m sure all those players now suing the NFL probably would have said the same thing during their playing days, but at least they can say we didn’t understand concussions as well, then. You have to be more farsighted when dealing with head injuries, you don’t want to be dealing with debilitating migraines in your 40s.

    Now I’m all for personal liberty and whatnot, so I think the NFL should have all players sign a document stating that if they hide a possible concussion from the team or the league, then they waive all future possible claims arising from head injuries. Maybe that way they’ll actually stop and think about what they’re doing for a second or two.

  13. ! Yay ! More players need to stand up and say what was reality for them. This law suit by former players is forcing goodells hand by making him crack Down on the Ed Reeds and such, fans need to realize that alot of this is caused from this law suit by the retired who are now banged up and out of money. Roddy White is honest about this stuff, now Parker but everyone else avoids the confrontation. With the Ex’s . More current players need to stand up for their NFL, before Goodell is forced to protect himself and the future NFL from more lawsuits

  14. and in 10 years, Willie will be joining the lawsuit against the league. smh…
    I do see a double edged sword. There are only a handful of players in the league that when they are concussed, are NOT at risk of losing their starting role…which does add up to $$.
    Happened to my team the Vikings….Mistral Raymond won the starting S job, hurt his ankle and his backup played so well, Coaches are reluctant to replace him. I understand this part of the business tho. As was mentioned, Alex Smith perfect example too. If CHI, AZ and KC had decent backups, their starting QB’s would be riding the pines now.

  15. In all the YEARS ive been watching NFL games ive NEVER heard or seen this many concussions… these men are as big as monsters and going full speed at one another a injury is bound to happen. You cant hide these injuries.. you could end up dead at a early age!

  16. As crazy as it sounds, it would suck to lose your job due to ab injury suffered on the job. If they weren’t union I believe that would be illegal.
    Maby not given it’s a team sport. They are getting millions. Money changes peoples priorities.

  17. I can see his logic in not wanting to come out for fear of not ever getting back in the line-up. Fine, put the team and your career before your long-term health. Just don’t come back years later, and sue the league for the occupational hazzard of concussions, just because you wouldn’t reveal anything. You can’t have it both ways, or at least shouldn’t be able to.

  18. I never played football past high school. I’ve never been rich or famous. But, I’m now in my mid 40’s with a decent job and great health. I’d ask my kids if they think I should trade the latter to be the former, but I think I already know the answer. And hopefully my future grandchildren will say the same thing. Life isn’t about football Willie. It just isn’t.

  19. bears0492 says:
    Nov 25, 2012 7:38 AM
    Definitely gotta disagree that not playing through a concussion means you have no fight, Willie. Maybe you feel that way but I’m willing to bet the majority of NFL players no longer think that.

    Just another retired player who is out of touch with the NFL today…

    Just another “new age” fan who has NO concept of what it takes to play football, especially at a high level such as these guys.

    Hey, your oven just dinged, your Nachos are ready.

  20. The problem with Parkers statement is that he is implying that if you tell you aren’t a “real” football player.

    Plenty of football players would protect their brain. But a few neanderthals think they can ridicule them into doing the stupid thing.

    Statements like that make me think Parker should have told.

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