Blog Entry

How players are cheating on concussion tests

Posted on: April 22, 2011 5:59 pm
Posted by Andy Benoit

Player safety (which is the NFL’s affirmative way of saying “decreased concussions”) is at the forefront in today’s game. The league has done a commendable job of swiftly enacting new safety-oriented rules that prevent concussed players from being on the field.

But to a large degree, those rules only work if players cooperate. Dr. Daniel Amen, who has treated current and former players for post-concussion symptoms, tells Alex Marvez of Fox Sports that not all players are doing that.

When a player suffers a head injury, he must perform a baseline test that measures elements such as cognitive thinking, memory, concentration and balance. The results of the 6-8 minute test are measured against how the player performed on that same test in the preseason. Top make for an easier-to-pass baseline test, some players are purposely performing poorly on their preseason test.
"Players are smart. They know that if they have a concussion and score badly that, 'I'm going to be taken out. It's going to affect my livelihood,' " Amen said. "I've had a number of players tell me they purposely do bad on the testing to start so if they get a concussion it doesn't affect them.

"We need to educate them that this is a really dumb idea, that it's the rest of their life that they're playing with."

What’s more, some players who didn’t think ahead like this but still want to get back on the field before they’re 100 percent are turning to stimulants that can temporarily boost alertness and mask concussion symptoms.

"Ritalin will work," Amen said. "It helps boost activity to the front part of the brain. In my mind, it's not the first thing I would do to rehabilitate a concussion but it would be on the list of things to do.

"Clearly, it's not approved by the NFL or a smart thing to do and try to cheat the test."

Though he’s speaking on the matter, a bulk of Amen’s work regarding athletes’ head injuries doesn’t even pertain to concussions. He says we’re just scratching the surface on what impact repeated minor hits to the head have on the brain.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:52 pm
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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 30, 2011 2:49 pm
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Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: April 23, 2011 12:59 pm

How players are cheating on concussion tests

Dr. Amen says that players are smart because they know how to cheat the system. Really? I think they are very stupid to ignore the seriousness of concussions which they probably first received playing youth football. It's not intelligence that's telling them to ignore's the repeated blows to he head. Rather than praise athletes who tough it out Dr. Amen should condemn these players and say " have a serious brain injury. One wrong bump and you could be a vegetable....if you are lucky!" It's interesting how the article ends by saying that Dr. Amen does not treat many athletes with concussions...and yet he claims not to be an expert on it. Overall, a very poorly written article by Benoit. Either you write an article condemning athletes who try to play through head injuries or you praise the doctors for taking it more seriously. You can't have it both ways. This article implies that Dr. Amen helps athletes pass these tests and yet he claims not to be an expert on head injuries. Lol.

Since: Oct 27, 2007
Posted on: April 23, 2011 2:24 am

How players are cheating on concussion tests

I think this boils down to trust.  I do not think that the players believe that the doctor has their best interest in mind when he is providing this test to them.  If the players truly believed this, they wouldn't cheat.  Overall, I don't think I would believe that the doctor does either.  It would depend on who is paying the doctor, and what his incentives are.  Until all of the parties in this have a true common interest, then I don't this gets resolved.  The main problem might be that the parties interests are truly adverse, and so no resolution will occur. 

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: April 23, 2011 1:19 am

How players are cheating on concussion tests

Oh. And I forgot to add the owners in this case are no better then the players.  When players are guaranteed x amount of dollars regardless of how they play, signing bonuses are high, performance bonuses are ridiculous, the last thing they want is for a player to collect a massive bonus and then go on injured reserve.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: April 23, 2011 1:17 am

How players are cheating on concussion tests

Money rules... it's all that matters to these fools.  They'll take drugs, steroids, play through concussions.. anything at all to collect those paychecks.  And that will never change..... players will always cheat.

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