Monday, October 17, 2011

Are The Philadelphia Eagles Allowing Michael Vick To Play With A Concussion?

Michael Vick has been upset with what he calls unfair treatment by officials this season.  Namely, cheap shots and illegal hits that he's been receiving at the hands of opposing defenses.

Instead, what he should be angry about is how the Philadelphia Eagles are regularly allowing him to continue playing after he suffers what appears to be a concussion to the casual viewer.  I'm usually not that morbid, but if Vick continues to get hurt like I discuss below, his story is going to end very badly this year.

Vick Being Held Up By Teammate Following Hit To Head
AP Photo
One Concussion, Or Three?

  • First, he suffers what the Eagles originally call a "neck" injury during the game with the Atlanta Falcons.  He clearly suffers a helmet-to-helmet hit and appears unsteady for a bit.  Vick was removed from the game and taken to the locker room, and eventually after the game the Eagles admitted Vick had suffered a concussion.
  • Then, after only missing a day of practice, Vick is cleared to play the following week.  In that game against the New York Giants, Vick is once again subject to a helmet-to-helmet hit.  When he falls to the ground, he immediately grabbed his helmet as if his head was in pain.  He is kept out of the rest of the game.  After the game, Vick is diagnosed with a badly bruised hand...a bruised hand that has seemingly not affected him at all after that game.
  • Finally, this past weekend in the game against the Washington Redskins, Vick is given yet another helmet-to-helmet hit.  As he attempts to stand, it's clear that his teammates are holding him up.  Redskins player London Fletcher appears to look closely at Vick and then wave strongly for the Eagles' trainers to come out.  Vick goes over to the sideline, consults with trainers for about five minutes, and then comes back into the game.
It boggles the mind.  There were plenty of signals in both the game against the Giants and the Redskins that Vick was exhibiting concussion symptoms. In fact, London Fletcher said this of Vick after the hit:
"Vick seemed groggy [after the play] like he was about to fall down."
A standard sideline concussion evaluation is expected to last 6-8 minutes.  Vick's interaction with the trainers was half that.  This also isn't the first time that Eagles Head Trainer Rick Burkholder has been criticized for management of players suspected of a concussion.  In 2010, Kevin Kolb and Stewart Bradley were allowed to return to the game after sustaining a concussion for a brief period.  

The Eagles and their medical staff are playing fast and loose with Vick.  It's obvious that it's because, without him, they have no chance at a successful season. Vick knows that, too, and I think he is actually still punishing himself for the issues that put him into prison those years ago.  Any reasonable individual would probably not go back into a football game after their "bell was rung."  

Will all these hits add up to something for Vick sooner or later? Is he still suffering concussion-like symptoms that he's simply lying about so he can play? Could one more hit mean the end of Vick's season, or possibly, career?  Look at Sydney Crosby and think about it.   The Eagles are not looking out for Michael Vick.

All this leads back to the idea of having independent doctors on the sidelines during NFL games.  It's going to happen at some point.  

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