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Packers Need To Be Careful With Grant

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Packers Need To Be Careful With Grant

Anyone who has been paying even the slightest attention to the NFL these past few years knows that the NFL and NFLPA have started to pay closer attention to the diagnosis and after-effects of concussions. In Saturday night's preseason loss to the Browns, Ryan Grant suffered a head injury that caused him to wobble as he attempted to make his way to the sideline.

After the training staff spent a few minutes talking to him and looking him over, Grant finally made his way to the sideline, where he spent the rest of the evening. After the game, when asked if he would have returned had it been a regular season game, Grant replied:

I would’ve tried to. I don’t know how that goes now with the whole (concussion) situation. I promise you I would’ve at least tried.

Now, as fans, we are supposed to applaud this attitude. We want our guys to want to get back in the game. Brett Favre added to his legendary career back in 2004 when he got back in a game against the Giants after he had suffered what was later diagnosed as a concussion. He did this against his coach's (and trainer's) wishes. But after throwing a 4th down touchdown pass, all anyone talked about was how "awesome" it was that Favre would go back in, concussion be damned.

That was then. This is now.

It would be a slap in the face to all the people who have worked so hard to bring this issue to the forefront if fans did anything but urge Grant to sit out for at least one game. He should not partake in any contact this week in practice.This is the second time Grant has suffered a hit like this, the last one being the Bears game in Lambeau in 2008 when Mike Brown and Grant collided on a play that kept Grant out for a number of plays...and then, there he was. Back in the game.

You think I'm being over-dramatic? That this concern is overblown?

I want you to read this feature from Malcolm Gladwell that appeared in the New Yorker last October.

It's a fine line we walk as football fans. We cheer the big, bone-crunching hits. We bray for pain to be delivered to the opposing quarterback in the form of a helmet to the sternum or a tomahawk chop to the throwing arm. We applaud wildly when a running back and a safety collide, each one dipping his head down, each one trying to get low and deliver (or absorb) a blow...with their head.

These guys play an unbelievably dangerous game. Yes, for the most part they are very well compensated. But only for a short time. And we, as the spectators, as the driving force behind the game, should never again allow a player to enter into a game the way Favre did and not be appalled. And not take him to task.

I know there is a group of the NFL fanbase that would say: "Hey, it's his decision. It's his life. If he wants to play, let him play."

And while I understand that viewpoint, I can never again, in good conscience, number myself among them.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Chris's picture

Well written, Aaron.
I want to add that the Packers really need Ryan Grant to be healthy once the season starts, so they should be very cautious anyway. Maybe even hold him out the next pre-season game. I would be very worried if he misses games this season due to this.

fhornplayer83's picture

Nicely said.

I think it was some consolation that the back-ups (ie: Lumpkin) did a fairly good job that night, too. Having some depth at all positions helps to insure players, coaches, and fans that things will be OK if a starter has to sit out due to head injury.

David's picture

Well written, and I cannot agree more.

cow42's picture

Hey, it’s his decision. It’s his life. If he wants to play, let him play.

JohnRehor's picture

Nice read. Believe it or not there is more to life than playing football. The most important thing a team can do is protect it's assets, and that is what all players are-assets to the team. Players want to play, but doctors are looking out for the long term effects of injury more now than ever. Missing one game will not hurt anyone, especially in the preseason.

pat fermanich's picture

jojn rehor I agree. hes only human

dilligaff's picture

IMO your brain is all you got, you can live a good life with bad knees and other football injuries, but your brain is all you have.

Considering this is preseason, would expect Grant to sit out the next few weeks to let the bruising in his head heal.

He is a veteran, who knows the system well. He can miss the practice.

Andyman's picture

Yeah I definitely wouldn't be surprised to not see him in the preseason again this year, just as precaution. Maybe a little tune-up in their 3rd or 4th game, but not for any length of time. As soon as the hit happened, and it took Grant an extra few seconds to get up, you know it was a rough one. No need to rush him back and risk anything.

WoodyG's picture

We, as fans, can be apalled but I doubt fans have any impact on the situation .... I don't disagree with your sentiments but feel it's not unlike any dangerous occupation ...... Should I be apalled when a firefighter enters a burning building or when a cop gets involved in a high-speed chase?

Another view ....... If my MD who went to school for 12 years & has practiced for another 20 years tells me I can ride my bike w/out a helmet, I'll probably do it ...... Especially if riding my bike pays my bills.

packeraaron's picture

I hear what you're saying, but firefighters and cops don't do their jobs for your amusement.

WoodyG's picture

True ..... But sports & especially the NFL is far beyond simple amusement .... It's a violent activity with inherent consequences that will always exist short of outlawing the game of football ....... Where do you lean when it comes to boxing?

CSS's picture

Boxing is more violent and brutal than MMA (despite the blood). Boxing gives you a standing '8' count after you've already been concussed and they let you continue that fight and your career. MMA, you're vulnerable, the match is stopped. Competant medical staffs on NFL teams have authority over coaches and hold players out if they even suspect cerebral injury.

Boxing is among the most violent out there, IMHO

packeraaron's picture

I think boxing is stupid. But that's just me.

CJ in Guatemala's picture

I've never liked Boxing, pretty much I think it's a GREAT workout routine... but that's it.

CSS's picture

Firemen and Police know they're in immediate danger and ther result of the known risk manifests itself in immediate injury or debilitation.

Every impact on the football field is the equivalent of a car crash at 5-10 mph. Players can't see the cumulative risk/injury tied to their chosen profession. Former players, at autopsy, have tissue degeneration in the brain equivalent to advanced alzheimers....but the players died in their 40's or 50's. The 'headaches' disipate after a few days, perhaps a week.

Athletes frequently rush back to the game too often and have no ability to understand the impact.

Ask Al Toon what it's like to hear the door bell ring but he answers his phone (true story). Sad...

Jeremy's picture

I don't know why some of us are pretending to know what Grant should do before he's had a full evaluation. Whether he sits out a day, week ,month, year or forever is a decision that should be made by a group of unbiased medical professionals that have fully examined him using the latest technology and evidence based practice. Not his coach, nor himself, and certainly not us fans are qualified here.

CSS's picture

Only one poster in the comments section above has sentiment differing from what you've stated. Neither the article nor the fans in the comment section are 'pretending to know what Grant should do.' Caution is paramount, fans tend to agree.

packeraaron's picture

Who said anything about being "qualified"? I am a fan. I am concerned. I have given voice to those concerns. Pretty simple.

jeremy's picture

Sorry my comment was confusing. I was not referring to only the author or commenters of this specific article, but Football Fans in general.

Anyone could quickly pull up dozens of posts from around the web that decry the NFL's attention to safety as turning football into a sissy sport.

Jersey Al's picture

Umm, did you just use the word "bray" in a football article? nice...

RockinRodgers's picture

I wouldn't play him the rest of the preseason. Maybe the last preseason game. You don't mess around with head injuries.

pat fermanich's picture

its there pick ,there job ,there risk what brings home the bacon.

nerd's buddy's laptop's picture

Jackson is better anyway.

asshalo's picture

A kid I played sports with in middle school played two years at Iowa before being forced to quit for health concerns. He was a beast on special teams (Iowa Wisconsin 2007 in was one example) but had a series of concussions and injuries that took there tole. Almost two years later he was still having back surgeries. Two years of college ball will affect his body the rest of his life. It's easy to understand why most NFL lineman don't live to see the age of 60 or why 40 year old veterans are showing signs of dementia usually common in elderly persons.

cow42's picture

and all of us would still suit up at the drop of a hat if we had the chance.

i know i sure the hell would.

pat fermanich's picture

asshalo nice comment.i have not been to pack hall of fame in awhile but theres a helmet of 66 nisgh and broking ton shoulder pad .two guys who could but the hit on a player . sorry on nitshke spelling.

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