The NFL’s chief medical officer didn’t just praise Carson Wentz’s decision to report his concussion symptoms to medical personnel last Sunday.
Dr. Allen Sills said Wentz was “heroic” for it.
Here’s what Sills told The Associated Press:
I think what Carson Wentz did is heroic and should be highlighted as an example of how an unbelievably skilled and competitive athlete understands the seriousness of concussion injury and is willing to honestly report it and receive the care that he needs independent of his desire and drive to continue to participate in the game.
Having a concussion and playing through it is not about toughness. That’s demonstrating a lack of understanding of the severity of the injury. So I applaud Carson Wentz for understanding how serious this injury is and for getting appropriate care that he needs.
In the first quarter of the Eagles’ 17-9 loss to the Seahawks, Wentz was hit in the back of the head with a helmet-to-helmet shot from Seahawks defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney. Wentz stayed in the game briefly but exited after just nine total snaps.
As NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Derrick Gunn reported on Wednesday, Wentz came off the field and mentioned to backup quarterback Josh McCown that he wasn’t feeling right. From there, Wentz was escorted into the blue medical tent, where he couldn’t remember what happened or who the Eagles played the previous week.
Eventually, Wentz was taken into the locker room and ruled out of the game.
Concussion spotters at Lincoln Financial Field did not detect a possible concussion after the hit so it took Wentz’s reporting the symptoms for him to be evaluated. That’s likely why Sills, a neurosurgeon, was so effusive in his praise for Wentz.
Earlier this season, Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill suffered a concussion on the first play from scrimmage against the Miami Dolphins and played the rest of the game. He later admitted that he simply lied to medical personnel to stay in the game. Grugier-Hill’s concussion wasn’t diagnosed until four days later.
Perhaps a bigger problem was that Grugier-Hill admitted he didn’t regret his decision, only that the Eagles lost the game. Doug Pederson later said he was disappointed in Grugier-Hill and called it a “selfish act.”
But it’s a selfish act that is duplicated far too often in the NFL. A few years ago, Malcolm Jenkins failed to report his own concussion symptoms to stay in a game. And there are plenty of other instances where this happens and it doesn’t get reported.
When we’re talking about brain injuries, that’s pretty scary.
Players should know better, but this is a high-stakes business and there’s pressure to play through every other type of injury. This is really about changing a decades-long culture. It doesn’t happen overnight.
So when Sills talked about Wentz, he was not just applauding one player’s decision to do what’s best for his health. He praised Wentz because here’s a star player that rightly reported his serious concussion symptoms instead of opting to stay in a playoff game.
Remember, Wentz had waited four years for that opportunity and still reported his symptoms. That’s not weak; Wentz did the right thing.
“It’s a great example to players at all ages and levels that you only have one brain and you shouldn’t take chances with a brain injury,” Sills said. “Brain injuries are different than other injuries. Anytime someone has a sprained ankle, you can see their ankle swell up or they dislocate a finger and you can see the finger pointing in the wrong direction. You can’t see a brain injury from the outside, but that does not make it any less severe or any less dangerous to the recipient than any of those other injuries.”
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.