In a column released Wednesday, All-Pro Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman admitted that he once hid a concussion from team officials during his rookie season.
Sherman, 25, discussed his second-ever concussion in a guest post for TheMMQB.com. The Seahawks cornerback suffered the injury during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8 of the 2011 NFL season, and described the play in vivid detail.
“On the game’s seventh play, I trailed my receiver down the left sideline and looked back to see Andy Dalton toss it underneath to Chris Pressley, their 260-pound fullback,” Sherman wrote. “As he turned up the sideline, I came down hard, squared up, and dove at his legs. His right knee connected with my temple, flipping him over my head. I got up quickly and shook my head back and forth to let them know nobody is running me over.”
Though Sherman appeared to shake off the collision, he quickly realized that something was wrong. “The problem was that I couldn’t see. The concussion blurred my vision and I played the next two quarters half-blind, but there was no way I was coming off the field with so much at stake,” he said. “It paid off: Just as my head was clearing, Andy Dalton lobbed one up to rookie A.J. Green and I came down with my first career interception.”
Over the last few years, the NFL’s handling of concussions and their long-term effects has come under increased scrutiny, culminating in a class-action lawsuit filed by hundreds of ex-players. Despite the growing concern, Sherman believes that there is a certain assumption of risk when a player decides to pursue a career in the league.
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“A NASCAR driver understands that anything can happen during a race; his car could flip at 200 miles per hour. A boxer knows when he goes in the ring what’s happening to his body,” Sherman notes. “Just like them, we understand this is a dangerous game with consequences not just in the short term, but for the rest of our lives. All of us NFL players, from wide receivers to defensive backs, chose this profession.”
“Sometimes I can tell when a guy is concussed during a game — he can’t remember things or he keeps asking the same questions over and over — but I’m not going to take his health into my hands and tell anybody, because playing with injuries is a risk that guys are willing to take,” Sherman adds. “The players before us took that risk too, but they still sued the league because they felt like they were lied to about the long-term risks. Today, we’re fully educating guys on the risks and we’re still playing. We have not hidden from the facts.”
Furthermore, Sherman says he would still attempt to hide any additional concussion just as he hid the injury he suffered in 2011. “And the next time I get hit in the head and I can’t see straight, if I can, I’ll get back up and pretend like nothing happened. Maybe I’ll even get another pick in the process.”