On December 8, Colt McCoy took a pretty big hit by James Harrison (who was later suspended one game for the hit). Unfortunately, McCoy was evaluated on the sidelines for a possible hand injury and was never given a full concussion evaluation. He only missed two plays and returned to the game. He later complained of sensitivity to light and nausea; apparently his post-game interviews had to be limited for this reason. He has since been held out of practices and games secondary to concussion. He has yet to play.
There’s been a lot of talk in the sports media lately about who was to blame for McCoy not being evaluated that day for a concussion. Apparently the medical staff didn’t see the hit. The supposed “injury reviewer” in the box (who is an official, btw, not a medical professional), assumed the medical staff saw the hit and didn’t say anything. What about the coaching staff? I’m pretty sure they outnumber the medical staff, so what prevented one of them from saying, “Let’s evaluate him real quick because he just got rocked.” But that’s beside the point, and what’s done is done. Now the league is looking into it. ATCs are replacing officials in the booth to look out for injuries. We can assume the medical team was reprimanded. McCoy’s father has been pretty vocal about the situation as well. But where is Colt McCoy? What is his opinion? We haven’t heard from him. Did he have symptoms? Did he experience headache or a feeling of fogginess while his hand was being evaluated? If he did have symptoms, it was his responsibility to report them. I can’t speak for him. No one can. But can you really tell me that he felt comfortable going back into the game? I’ve never sustained a concussion, so I can’t put myself in his shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s a lot at stake when it comes to professional sports. But I also know that in 2011 a professional football player has been educated about the signs and symptoms of concussion, as well as the consequences he faces if he doesn’t report his symptoms. We know from surveys given to high school football players that they still don’t report symptoms for fear of being taken out of the game or upsetting the coach. When there are millions of dollars possibly at stake, does that change things?
Like I said, I can’t speak for the guy. I’m sure there’s more to the story; there always is. Maybe he really didn’t have symptoms. But there’s a lot of blame flying around, and yet nobody wants to hold the athlete accountable. Concussions are no laughing matter, and fortunately awareness has increased dramatically over the last few years. But we can’t always point the finger at one person or another. We need to remember that everyone plays a part: physicians, ATCs, coaches, and athletes.