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Cory's Corner: Jermichael Finely shines light on concussed shadows

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Cory's Corner: Jermichael Finely shines light on concussed shadows

Jermichael Finley did an excellent job by pulling back the curtain and allowing fans to see what the Shield doesn’t want others to know.

Finley crystallized the concussion problem. He suffered five concussions in his playing career and after bruising his spinal cord, his lifelong addiction no longer allowed him to play.

The reason Finley is interesting is because his son Kaydon shares the same feelings that every family member of an NFL player has. When Kaydon was 5 he said, “Daddy, I don’t want you to play football anymore.” That was after Finley suffered a concussion in Cincinnati while taking a knee to the head.

Concussions are once again a hot topic after Gisele Bündchen was honest about her husband Tom Brady’s unreported concussions. And Drew Brees threw more gas on the concussion fire by saying that there are things that he doesn’t tell his wife when it comes to his own safety, just so she doesn’t worry.

What is surprising to me is that with the influx of information, concussions and head trauma remains the white elephant. Eighty-seven of 91 former NFL players, or 96 percent, have tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). That number is 79 percent for all NFL players — and players are still willing to justify the risk vs. fame and financial gain.

Go back to Finley. If his 5-year-old son cannot sway him to hang up his spikes, I’m not sure what it’s going to take.

I’m glad that Finley was able to look himself in the mirror and get the help he needed to put his mind straight and his life on track.

Players continue to be bigger, stronger and faster and the fields they play on continue to get faster. That means collisions nowadays are a lot more catastrophic than just 20 years ago. Myles Garrett was the top edge rusher taken in the 2017 NFL Draft. He’s 6-foot-5 and weighs 271 pounds and can absolutely fly. Peter Boulware was the top edge rusher taken in 1997 and was 6-foot-4 and 256 pounds. Fifteen pounds may not seem like much, but it’s downright scary when Garrett can run just as well if not better, than someone who weighs that much less.

Concussions aren’t going away. It would be a lot better if current NFL players would be a lot more candid like Finley recently was. I understand that current NFL players want to protect their game, but why should that supersede those same players from protecting themselves?

It’s time to bring concussions out of the shadows. Talking about them honestly shouldn’t be done by a spouse, who likely got a stern talking-to by Brady after that fateful CBS This Morning interview.

Players obviously love what Finley said. He wrote about all the things they think about. He was honest and is trying to heal his emotional wounds by being sincere.

Finley had plenty of promise for a long career but thanks to a $10 million insurance policy, which is also tax-free, he has to understand that his future is just fine now that he has four kids.

But he also worshipped at the altar of football. He was taught to “walk it off,” no matter how significant the injury. Football, like just about every player, is how Finley gets identified. Fans may not be able to see your face, but they know if you’re spending a lot of time with the trainer.

Concussions are now a silent killer because of their devastating effects when a player’s career is over. Finley’s career may be over, but he’s doing a great job as a head of search and rescue.




Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He is also nearing completion of a master's degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Djschuett's picture

Very good article. It wasn't Finley himself that necessarily got him to hang up his cleats. It was teams refusing to sign him after his cervical spine surgery. He advertised his availability plenty.

Since '61's picture

Addressing the concussion issue is long overdue for the NFL. The recent player collisions are more ferocious than they were years ago but there are plenty of players from the 60s, 70s, and 80s who suffer from CTE and other related maladies. Mike Webster and Junior Seau among the most famous of NFL players to suffer from this tragic situation. Mike Webster played in an era when offensive linemen were subjected to head slaps from charging DLs and who knows how many unreported concussions he and others suffered. Many of us watched Brett Favre return to a game after suffering a concussion and hurling a TD pass after sitting out just one play. Even with additional rules to improve player safety there is no guarantee the NFL will be able to prevent player concussions but they can at least admit the dangers and do much more to help their players recover and to support them after they retire. They have yet to pay the concussion settlement which was reached a few ago with the players. Why?
Instead they approve a rule to allow post TD celebrations in a desperate attempt to keep people watching rather than leave the TV due to commercial, TD replay, commercial, extra point, commercial, kick-off, commercial. Let's turn the NFL into a production of Caberet while players are carted off the field. "Life is a Caberet old chum, come to our Caberet". We all know how well that worked out for Germany. A ridiculous and desperate attempt to keep younger fans interested most of whom don't know what they are watching anyway. Why not vote to do something about concussions and player care after retirement. It's an $11 billion industry and growing. They will learn too late that no amount of end zone dancing will keep parents from protecting their children and directing them into baseball, basketball, lacrosse, etc... It's already happening. Aaron Judge, NY Yankee right fielder, 6'7", 280 pounds. The largest player in MLB history. Sounds like a good edge rusher for the Packers. Sorry chose baseball. We will also see many more players retire early rather than risk permanent life-debilitating injuries. If a 5 year old can figure it out, well enough said. "Life is a Caberet". Thanks, Since '61

worztik's picture

Since '61... bored today???

Nick Perry's picture

"Eighty-seven of 91 former NFL players, or 96 percent, have tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)."

That's just a scary number. This isn't a possible hip replacement down the road or a surgery after the player retires. This is your brain.
For example Chris Borland walked away after his rookie season because he didn't want to risk it anymore. I understand Borland's family had/has money which I'd imagine makes that decision a little easier, but I still have mad respect for anyone who can walk away from the millions the NFL offers. With the percentages shown above a player isn't likely to think it won't happen to him, at least if they're really being honest with themselves. It's more of a rarity for it NOT to happen to you. Many of these kids are a family's chance at a better life. It must be an impossible choice with so many depending on you.

4thand1's picture

I think Eddie Lacy has a lot of second thoughts about playing football. People were clamoring for him to just put his head down and get a few extra tough yards. He has already had his share of concussions, and right away he was labeled as not having his heart in the game. Fans don't care as long as "their" team wins. We sit back on Sundays and watch our teams pound themselves into submission.

Tarynfor12's picture

I guess put your head down and get concussion and criminal acts are equal in the minds of many long as the team wins.

Tarynfor12's picture

How about this.....We give criminal action if players a second chance but what exactly is the second chance offered to the multi- concussion later in life.
The criminal gets to make millions and the concussion may not know he has millions or spends it on medical bills and care.

worztik's picture

Talk about concussions and player safety are really annoying to me!!! Players know the risks and have undoubtedly had more concussions preNFL than they'd get playing 25 years. In Junior High and Senior High we had shit equipment and we just went out and played. I may be suffering some affects at my ripe old age now but, we didn't know any better then! With ALL the talk and precautions taken today, I still see players that can't tell the difference between a shoulder and the helmet crown!!! I'm tired of talking about this beaten down subject!!! Just sayin'...

Tundraboy's picture

Yes all talk. Can't think of single greater reason for a head injury than helmet to helmet hits yet they are as prevalent as ever.

Tundraboy's picture

Tell that to a boxer.

worztik's picture

DPF... that's a great explanation for those of us with the ability to actually think and reason! When I saw that female ref go down last year after getting run over on the sideline, I didn't think she'd have gotten up! Too much asphalt and concrete on the sidelines and AstroTurf on the field IS A GREATER PROBLEM than helmet to helmet but, we, apparently, wanted more speed so, damn the torpedoes!!! Players may not like coming into GB for an away game, however, the field makes up for the semi-hostile environment...
Just sayin'... and I liked your comments!!!

Ferrari Driver's picture

I hear little in the news about concussions from cage fighting and boxing where the objective is to give their opponent a concussion.

I've watched a couple of the cage fights (UFC) on TV and those are brutal. I also watched the Friday night fights on TV with my dad when I was a kid remember announcers talking about the number of knockouts in the fighters records.

In football, the players nowadays have the best equipment designers can muster so I would think the dangers in football pale compared to the aforementioned activities.

I grew up in a small town with an abundance of non-wealthy people and we used to play tackle football in grammar school against other schools without any football equipment. I realize that wouldn't be allowed today, but other than bloody lips and plenty of scrapes we managed to survive and had fun as youngsters. I do believe that the number of us who never had a concussion before we grew up was very few. I also don't remember law suits in those days. Different time, different perspective.

worztik's picture

That nails it driver!!!

egbertsouse's picture

As long as there is money to be made and people desperate enough to play, we will have football,boxing, hockey, NASCAR and all the other blood sports. This is the USA, a few injuries and deaths just enhance our viewing experience. Screw those liberal wusses.

worztik's picture

Dear WC Fields... you are a reincarnated Roman citizen from the thumbs up thumbs-down days of the Colosseum aren't you? Blood sports... bring em' on there Caligula!!! Just sayin'... WOW!!!

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