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Tag:Concussion
Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:01 pm
 

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Clark's collision with Dickson resulted in a $40,000 fine. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Tuesday there were reports that Ryan Clark and Ray Lewis could expect fines for their play in Sunday night's Ravens-Steelers game. Wednesday it became a reality; Clark was docked $40,000 and Lewis $20,000.

And not long after the fines were announced, Clark spoke frankly on the matter.

"Somebody else needs to step in ... not that I respected Roger [Goodell] before this ... but this is ridiculous," he said. "I'm not going to sit across from [the Commissioner] unless they handcuff me. which is probably the next step anyway."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette writes that Steelers head coach "was said to be furious when he learned about the fine from the league office today."

In a statement released by the team, Tomlin called the fine excessive.

"I am a proponent of player safety and the league's pursuit of improvement in this area," he said. "I, like the vast majority of people in this industry, witness daily the steep price that these young men pay to play this game on so many levels. Ryan has my full support if he chooses to appeal this in any way."

Judge for yourself:


Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also supports Clark and thinks that NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith should get involved.

"It's unfortunate," he said."You never want to see one of your guys get hit, especially for that much money. I went back and watched it. If you slow down and watch it, it's about as picture-perfect of a tackle you can make. His head was down right across the chest and the back of his helmet maybe grazed the wide receivers bottom of the face mask. Someone needs to stand up and do something -- like De Smith. He is our player guy, stand up and do something for our players."

Reviewing Week 9

Fair point. Smith hasn't been seen since the lockout ended. Maybe that's why, when the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly asked James Harrison Wednesday if De Smith should get involved his response was "Who's that?"

(We're pretty sure that was Harrison being sarcastic.)

But it's not just those in the Steelers organization that think Clark's punishment was exorbitant. Sports Illustrated's Peter King sent the following tweets Wednesday:

"Watched replay of Clark's hit on Dickson 20/25 times. Clark lowers head, aims for chest w/right shoulder. Clips Dickson facemask w/helmet. … This is not the kind of hit to generate a 40k fine. Clark DID hit helmet--but he clearly was aiming lower. Some fine? OK. 40? No way. … 'Fine Clark till he stops.; Stops what? Lowering his head and aiming for a guy's sternum? Bury a guy when he AIMS for head. Clark didn't."

As our colleague Will Brinson wrote earlier, the reason Clark is now out $40,000 wasn't the result of some blindfolded dart-throwing exercise down at league headquarters. It's because the NFL's fine schedule plainly states that the second offense for "Impermissible Use of the Helmet" will run you … $40,000.

The players are well aware of this. They're just apoplectic at the amount. Well, that and the arbitrary nature with with Goodell metes out punishments. Like, say, this.

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:22 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 3:10 pm
 

Ryan Clark fined $40K, Ray Lewis fined $20K

Posted by Will Brinson



Everyone knows that Ravens-Steelers games are a different (read: more violent) brand of football and that was exactly the case on Sunday night, when Baltimore snuck out a win in Pittsburgh. Ray Lewis and Ryan Clark delivered the most notable hits of the evening -- Lewis knocked Hines Ward with a clear helmet-to-helmet hit but wasn't flagged, while Clark picked up a 15-yard penalty for a hit on Ed Dickson.

Tuesday, Ryan Wilson told you to expect fines for both guys, and on Wednesday, they came down from the league. Lewis was fined $20,000 for his hit on Ward and Clark was fined $40,000 by the NFL for his hit on Dickson. Clark is especially unhappy about it.

Reviewing Week 9

"The hit wasn't malicious at all," Clark said, per Will Graves of the Associated Press. "i know how to knock somebody out if i want to knock them out. Am I supposed to let him catch it and then wait for him and hug him? Should I throw a pillow at him? Should I blow a whistle?"

And the Steelers safety had some choice words for Commissioner Roger Goodell as well.

"Somebody else needs to step in ... not that I respected Roger before this ... but this is ridiculous," Clark said. "I'm not going to sit across from [the Commissioner] unless they handcuff me. which is probably the next step anyway."

Lewis wasn't happy either, but had less aggressive words for the league office.

"Yeah, I heard from the league and like I said they fined me whatever they was going to fine me," Lewis said, via Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times. "The thing is you definitely respect them trying to protect player safety. At the same time, it won't change not one way I play this week no matter what the fine is. You can't stop playing defense the way defense has always been created to play. When the receiver has the ball, your job is to disengage him from the ball. You never want to hurt nobody.

"I've been in this business too long. I just think once you start getting into these fines I don't know how they come up with the numbers most of the time."

Well, actually, the NFL has a pretty standardized system for fines, though there is some confusion about the application. A fine for a hit on a defenseless player or impermissible use of a helmet (including illegal launching) is $20,000, which explains Lewis' fine.

And a repeat-offender fine is $40,000, which is why Clark, who's been targeted more than once by the NFL, got double what Lewis did, even though the safety claims the hit wasn't against league rules.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 3:45 pm
 

League looking use of 'concussion-like symptoms'?

Posted by Will Brinson

During today's podcast, I went on a bit of a rant about the need for the NFL to tweak the policy for handling in-game concussions. Not only can a player clearly suffering from a concussion like Hines Ward be classified as "questionable" with a "stinger," but the NFL doesn't have any objective sideline method of determining whether or not a player suffered a terminology brain injury (TBI).

The latest terminology teams are using to sidestep concussions? "Concussion-like symptoms," which is the diagnosis that the Steelers gave for Ward, even though the wide receiver took a clear shot to the head and was never even guaranteed to play on Sunday ... because of a concussion he suffered previously.

Fortunately, it appears the NFL will at least examine whether or not the term "concussion-like symptoms" is acceptable on an in-game medical report.

"We review these matters carefully each week," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on Monday.  "That is as far as I can carry the discussion right now."

Hopefully the NFL will determine that teams need to stop skirting the concussion classification and mete out punishments to teams that try to circumvent the rules by calling blatant concussion injuries something that they're not. ("Neck injury" is the most ridiculous, although "concussion-like symptoms is just flagrant.)

And now also seems like a good time to point you in the direction of an article I penned back in February, about an objective, handheld concussion test that's being researched in North Carolina right now. It can determine -- with science! -- whether or not a player suffered TBI, and eliminate the risk of a team accidentally (or purposely) re-inserting a player in a game who's at serious risk for further brain injury.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:41 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:12 pm
 

Study: NFL players more vulnerable to Alzheimer's

Posted by Will Brinson

A study presented on Monday by the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Paris revealed that ex-NFL players are more susceptible to developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than non-football-playing men of the same age.

MCI is, as Time's Alice Park notes, a form of dementia that leads to Alzheimer's and, unsurprisingly, the development of MCI relates directly to the number of violent hits and jarring shots to the head that football players take during the course of their career.

"The players who were impaired looked exactly like the typical clinical MCI patient in terms of their profile," Christopher Randolph, a professor of neurology at Loyola University Medical Center who led the study, said. "That supports our hypothesis that what we are dealing with is an earlier expression of MCI or AD in these players than would be expected otherwise."

The most terrifying aspect of the study (in which researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also assisted)? Helmets won't prevent this brain damage.

"The harder the stop, the more movement you have in the brain tissue; you stretch nerve fibers, tear fibers and bruise things," says Randolph. "So helmets are not going to protect you."

Player Safety

Randolph believes that changing practice habits could reduce the damage done to players' heads but that it could be difficult to reduce the amount of stress in games.

Regardless of the scientific evidence relating to reducing stress in games, though, it's obvious that decreasing the number of helmet-to-helmet hits that occur will significantly impact players' brains in a positive manner.

As will, hopefully, the league's ability to enforce a safer concussion policy that keeps players from returning to games too soon.

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H/T: MDS at PFT
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com