Joe Burrow has had in-game memory loss from head trauma, says it’s “part of what we signed up for”

NFL: SEP 29 Dolphins at Bengals
Getty Images

The Tua Tagovailoa situation has renewed the focus on concussion in football, including most important how they are spotted (or not) and how they are properly handled (or not).

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, in an interview with Colin Cowherd, admitted that, on multiple occasions, Burrow has forgotten the second half of a game or the entire game.

Burrow didn’t get more specific as to when that happened, or at which level of football. Regardless, he understands that the potential for a head injury is part of the game.

“You can make all the rules you want to make the game as safe as you possibly can, but there’s an inherent risk and danger with the game of football,” Burrow said. “You have 300-pound men running 20 miles an hour trying to take your head off while you’re standing still trying to ignore it, and find receivers that are open. And then sometimes you’ve got to go run and try to get a first down. You run 20 miles an hour and somebody else is running 22 miles an hour, you’ve got to try to get the first down.

“That’s part of the game, I think. Part of what we signed up for. You’re gonna have head injuries, you’re gonna tear your ACL, you’re gonna break your arm. That’s the game that we play. That’s the life that we live. And we get paid handsomely for it.”

It’s no surprise that players have no issue with the possibility of suffering head trauma. The league fully and freely allowed them to accept that risk — even if already potentially concussed — until Congress made the issue a priority 13 years ago this month. Then it became, within a year or two thereafter, a major liability issue for the league. It also became an existential threat to the game, given that parents became concerned about letting their kids play at lower levels of the sport.

That’s why the league has these protocols. Even if plenty of players would gladly play despite a head injury that has not fully resolved, the league has no choice but to care about the issue more than the players do. If the league doesn’t, Congress could actively regulate the sport. More importantly, the supply of future players could diminish.

That’s the biggest practical impact of the troubling images resulting from the two occasions in the past two weeks in which Tua’s head has struck the ground. It’s also why (I believe) the league and the union swept the obvious failure of the protocol regarding Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate under the rug.

If the NFL can’t properly spot and evaluate potential head trauma as it’s happening, what hope does the local high school have at doing the same thing? That’s why the league would prefer that we quickly get back to the point where head trauma isn’t being discussed, and the league’s mishandling of it isn’t being scrutinized.

39 responses to “Joe Burrow has had in-game memory loss from head trauma, says it’s “part of what we signed up for”

  1. Exactly. These men don’t have the ability or right to sign on to the dangers that come with the generational life changing sums of money they signed up for. I get it.

  2. Once in a high school game in Missouri, I took a big knock to the head. When I came to, they asked if I knew where I was, I told them I was at the Texas state fair. lol

    Part of why I am not encouraging my kids to play football.

  3. In the end it’s their decision. Either shut the league down or move on. I’m tired of hearing, can we just play football now? This is so old.

  4. Wow. So Cincy has admitted cheating as well.

    I am sure Rogie will announce an “investigation” later today for some of us to fall for as a real thing.

    Smart people know what is going on.

  5. The fastest Usain Bolt has ever been clocked was a hair over 23 miles per hour, so I’d sure like to see where these 300 lb men who can run 20 MPH are.

  6. No matter how distasteful or misguided you may think Burrow’s words are, he’s not wrong.
    Every player today understands what they’re getting themselves into. Rationalize that however you may see fit, but players, coaches, owners, and fans are perfectly willing to accept that in order to watch football.

  7. Both the NFL and the NFLPA concluded that – from what could be observed on video- Brate was impacted on the shoulder, not the head. That is not to say that a hard impact in the shoulder/neck area can’t also trigger a sympathetic ‘whiplash’ concussion. Clear and conclusive replay does not demonstrate direct contact with Brate’s head.

  8. I think eventually football will have weight restrictions like boxing. It’s just too dangerous to be hit by someone that fast that big.

  9. “Fire every team doctor and coach that let him back in the game!!”

    Am I doing it right?

  10. I love that Mr. Burrow is telling it like it is. Quit sugar-coating Mr. & Mrs. Safety 1st! It’s a violent sport. All the precautions in the world cannot protect from the physical nature of the game we all love. What happened to with Tua was over the top. I think everyone can agree with that. But players get hurt. Here’s the real question….would anybody have cared if it was a special teams player instead of 1 of the 32 starting Quarterbacks?

  11. Burrow might be talking himself out of a long term deal.Maybe his marbles are shaky.

    If he can keep the Bengals competitive, and even sniff another Super Bowl, Mike Brown should give him the team.

  12. He’s right. There are lots of jobs and hobbies out there that are dangerous. Some people enjoy that sort of thing. Let them do what they like to do. We don’t need to babysit adults.

    Are we going to tell mountain climbers, or skydivers, or any other sport that they cant do what they want to do? heck no.

  13. There will always be an ample supply of players. The lure of fame, adulation, and especially money is too great.

  14. Most of you are missing the point. It’s not that injuries happen, it’s the second hit while not knowing where you are that causes the major damage. See last Thursday night as an example.

    Competitors need to be protected from themselves. Burrow could have a long, impressive career but how it’s going right now he won’t make it to year five.

  15. 100% true! Stop the bs, we know that football is a violent game. Get paid millions of dollars to put yourself in harms way. If I could I would trade the risk of a concussion for life changing $$$

  16. I think it’s important to note that the Tua situation seems to be an outlier at this point. To my mind, the league has improved player safety significantly over the course of the last 13 years.

  17. Burrow is getting old quick. A little tired of hearing his comments on everything. Maybe he needs to stick with football again. It is football, take the millions and roll on or quit.

  18. Does no one have a relative that was a fight for their life or know anyone with brain damage. No amount of money could make me want to be stuck living thirty years in the past when I’m middle aged.

    Side note, maybe Joe burrow forgot the first half of the four games with all his turnovers. Makes sense now

  19. Concussions are a lot like smoking cigarettes. Those that smoke tend to not worry about the cancer they might get years down the line. But I guarantee that EVERY smoker that gets terminal cancer regrets smoking.

    The same goes for the concussions. Sure, no big problem now, but it will be different years down the line when they are drooling fools that can’t even recognize their own families.

  20. Burrow has wisely deployed a tactic to bring himself closer to the Bengal fan base who have also have had selective in game memory loss.

  21. It’s interesting to see how many folks are getting hung up on the 20 mph thing. In my mind Borrow was saying it’s a bunch of fast, big guys, hitting each other and if you’re going to do this thing for a living you’d better except the fact that you may, and probably will, get injured occasionally. This is no different than pilots or cops or firemen or boxers or race car drivers etc.
    I don’t see how anyone could disagree with Burrow’s perspective.

  22. radar773 is right. These players will have a different perspective on this when they are in their 50s and 60s and, yes, they will regret having risked these injuries and their long term effects.

  23. I think we can all agree that smoking is bad for you, yet millions of people still do it… and not only do they not get pa8d millions of dollars to do it, they pay for the privilege of lung cancer.

    Football can pay generational wealth. With great risk, comes great reward.

  24. tkebean says:
    October 6, 2022 at 2:54 pm
    I’d gladly take a couple concussions a year for the millions these guys are making.
    Sure, but would you risk permanent brain damage, severe chronic mood swings, or CTE? And keep in mind there are lots of football players who weren’t quite good enough for the NFL who get all the risks but not the financial rewards.

  25. Within the next 2-4 years those guardian helmets will have logos on the side and will be part of the uniform.

  26. Don’t get me wrong football is a violent sport that will have head injuries from time to time. So is boxing, where boxers die on an almost yearly basis (pretty sure one died last week in S. America), so is MMA where knockouts that stiffen the body (like what happened to Tua) occur pretty regularly and so is hockey. Point being is that there aren’t many sports out in the world that are totally injury free.

  27. 20-somethings like Burrow don’t know what it’s like to live with dementia.

    Claim they know what they’re signing up for, but they really don’t.

  28. If he forgot an entire half of games and entire games, It is safe to say it most likely occurred in the NFL. Not too many 300 lb players running 20 MPH in high school and college.

  29. I will say it again, the Tua situation is way overblown. As a result, too many players are going to be removed from these games from a stupid overreaction. It’s football! Just like with anything, a lot more goes on than you know when looking from the outside.

  30. Joe Burrow has common sense. What’s he saying is he could have gotten a job in a restaurant but decided he’d rather make a half billion dollars playing a risky game that he loves.

  31. Sorry but the local high school kids can’t run fast enough and aren’t big enough to inflict this type of injury.

    Why do you think there is no high school to NFL Pipleline?

    The physicality isn’t there.

    Good try tho. Comparing the most elite level of athleticism to hay stacks high school Friday night lights

  32. touchback6 says:

    Wow. So Cincy has admitted cheating as well.
    Well first of all the article clearly stated that he didn’t state which level of competition Burrow was referring to. And second, how is putting a concussed player back onto the field cheating? Seems like it would be the opposite.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.