Peyton Hillis returned to field after season-ending concussion

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In theory, NFL players are supposed to be removed from the field immediately if they suffer a concussion. In practice, they often keep playing.

That was the case with Giants running back Peyton Hillis, who was placed on injured reserve today after suffering a concussion last week against the Seahawks. Shortly after it became official that his season ended, Hillis told Josina Anderson of ESPN how the concussion happened.

“It was a catch over the middle. Some guys team-tackled me and my head hit the back of the turf. It was just one of those deals,” Hillis said.

As noted by Jordan Raanan of, the play Hillis is describing — the play on which he suffered the concussion that should have resulted in him being immediately removed from the game — was not Hillis’s last play of the game. Hillis returned to the game and made a tackle on special teams before he was taken out of the game.

Hillis was one of two Giants who played with a concussion on Sunday. Giants linebacker Jacquian Williams played three quarters after suffering a concussion, demonstrating that no matter what rules the league passes about keeping concussed players off the field, some players will slip through the cracks and keep playing, at an increased risk of brain damage.

32 responses to “Peyton Hillis returned to field after season-ending concussion

  1. Given he was on the Madden cover, he should know how this works. Many a time in Madden 92-95 there were guys that got taken off the field in an ambulance, and they returned later in the game, never mind the guys that got pushed out of the way by the ambulance itself.

  2. Players that make it to the nfl are wired to play football that’s what they do from a young age they learned to toughed up that’s why I feel as the nfl should take the power out of the players hands because they shown they can’t be trusted to pull themselves out

  3. From now on, put a honesty clause in every contract players have to sign stating that they will be forthcoming with head injury information or the league will not be liable for those who decide to lie to the doctors and go back in. That’ll solve all their problems: the NFL can’t be sued and players will have no one to blame but themselves if they play through concussions and don’t tell their trainers the truth.

  4. Michael Robinson is right, players would have a much bigger incentive to self-police concussion symptoms if contracts were guaranteed. Didn’t Richard Sherman say in a MMQB column that he played through a concussion in his first start? Worked out pretty well for him I reckon, and other fringey roster guys probably feel the same way about risking their far off vague long term mental health in favor of their immediate future and brief window of earning their money.

  5. Not to be overlooked in this is the fact that the NFL is getting better.

    At one point, teams/players/fans/media etc., didn’t even bother to count concussions that should have been identified.

  6. Usually the media and public and usually the public because of the media claw at teams who don’t catch a player with a concussion.

  7. Good for him. As a fan I could care less about these guys getting concussions. As a fan all I want is for them to go out there on that field and entertain me. This is why I like football. To see who the toughest and the strongest are. And these players know they are bashing their skulls and popping their ligaments for ME! Thank you Peyton Hillis and the other players who go out and play when they’re seeing stars.

  8. I see articles like this a lot both on PFT and other media outlets. Hindsight is 20/20. The reality is how the NFL deals with concussions is far better now than it ever was in the past. 15-20 years ago if you didn’t return to the field after getting your “bell rung” you were considered soft. But identifying concussion in players is still an imperfect science, especially when the league is still dealing with a culture amongst the players in which hiding symptoms to stay in the game is routine.

    It’s a violent game, concussions are going to happen, and sometimes the symptoms will go unnoticed even if everyone involved has the best of intentions.

  9. Hillis sustained permanent brain damage after being selected for the Madden Cover and has been exhibiting symptoms ever since!

  10. theebadguy says:
    Nov 15, 2014 8:19 PM

    How the hell was this guy ever on the cover of Madden?!?

    He had one really excelent year with KC. It happens. It’s the American Way. Ever hear of the 15 minutes of fame? Furthermore, he was voted in by fans like you and me. Deal with it. Don’t be “glib” with it.

  11. Two Solutions:

    1. Use the safer helmets THAT EXIST ON THE MARKET NOW (regardless of sponsorship $);

    2. Have built-in sensors in helmets that show when a concussion-level of G Forces was achieved (these also EXIST ON THE MARKET NOW).

    Of course, if the NFL cared about player safety this would already be done (and Thursday games would only happen after a bye).

  12. No it was when he was with Cleveland that he made that madden cover if memory serves me correct.
    Go Browns!!

  13. my head hit the back of the turf. It was just one of those deals,” Hillis said.

    Those are definitely the words of a severely concussed man

  14. Best backfield in college that Arkansas ever had…Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis… Just wish Ryan Mallett would have been there a couple years earlier to compliment that trio….Otherwise….decent careers for a few of them….

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