Joe Burrow Reveals He's Played Through Concussions And Has Blacked Out During Multiple Games
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow does a weekly podcast on The Volume with Colin Cowherd, and had some very interesting things to say about his experience with concussions and head injuries throughout the course of his football career.
Although he's never been diagnosed with a concussion since he entered the NFL, Burrow explained that he's "gotten his bell rung" multiple times to the point where he hasn't remembered whole chunks of games.
"I've never had any lasting effects from a concussion. I've been hit and forgot the rest of the game before. That's happened a couple of times, but I've never had one where I have headaches for like a week, and I have symptoms of concussion after the game. Like I said, I've had some where I don't remember the second half, or I don't remember the entire game, or I know that I got a little dizzy at one point, but nothing long-lasting.
"[...] You can make all the rules you want to make the game as safe as you possibly can, but [...] 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. [...] 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. I think going into every game, we know what we're getting ourselves into."
I don't want to be an alarmist or be naive enough to think players don't fight through injuries or tell their team doctors/coaches that they're OK when they're really not. That's part of the warrior mentality many guys play with, particularly at the NFL level. With all that established, it's still unsettling to hear every single time something like this pops up. Haha I can just see some of the comments now: "BETA! LIBERAL! SOFT! BE A MAN!" Yeah ooh, OK, you got me, good one y'all!
Credit Burrow for being candid and forthcoming with such personal information as the hot-button issue of concussions continues to be at the forefront of NFL discourse.
This exchange between Burrow and Cowherd came in the context of the Bengals' 27-15 win over the Dolphins this past Thursday, when Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa suffered a brutal-looking concussion and was transported straight from the field to the hospital. Tagovailoa's concussion was a far more obvious one, and many argued that he suffered one the previous Sunday versus the Bills, only for him to reenter that game and lead the Fins to victory.
As the NFLPA conducts its investigation into Miami's protocols and its clearing to send Tua back in to that Bills game, it'd be interesting to know if he did fully remember the second half against Buffalo, based on what Burrow has said here. The investigation is expected to wrap soon; its findings expected to be public.
The reality is there's still a lot we don't know about concussions and just what the lasting impact is over the long haul. Truth is, it can vary from person to person. Experts have made immense strides recently and far more protections are in place for football players than there were even 10, 15 years ago. Unfortunately, there's always going to be a human element to all this, where players will willingly put themselves in harm's way to go compete when they ideally would not.
So many bumps and bruises occur throughout the NFL that don't show up on the injury report. Concussions are part of the risk that, as Burrow states, players sign up for. He's absolutely right in his assertion that, with such a violent sport, rules can only do so much to protect players. Comparatively speaking, it sounds like Burrow has made out pretty alright when it comes to avoiding head injuries compared to some of his peers.
What a wild thing, though. I'm sure at the time when you're blacked out in a game, maybe something takes over in your mind and you're able to push through it. To not remember anything that happened for stretches of time after the fact? That has to scare even the most hardened of football players.
Stay safe out there, Joey B! Who Dey Nation needs you!!