Steelers safety Troy Polamalu seems to value being on the field to help his teammates more than his personal health. While on the Dan Patrick Show, Polamalu said he has lied before about concussion symptoms in order to be cleared to get back on the field.
“Yes, I have, for sure,” Polamalu said.
Polamalu does see a difference between saying he does not feel dazed after a hit to the head, when he does, and outright lying about a significant injury.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve had any major lies,” Polamalu said. “Somebody may say, ‘Is your knee messed up?’ It may be kind of messed up but you just kind of push yourself to be out there with your brothers. I wouldn’t say there are any major lies where I totally lied may way out of concussions. In fact, during concussions, if it’s serious enough you can’t even be conscious enough to lie.”
Furthermore, Polamalu says there is a difference between the kind of concussion that takes you off the field and the kinds of dings that doctors might call a concussion but football players view as the cost of doing business.
“I’ve had, I believe, eight or nine recorded concussions. We’ll have another conversation after I’m done playing football,” Polamalu said. “When you get your bell rung they consider that a concussion — I wouldn’t. . . . If that is considered a concussion, I’d say any football player at least records 50 to 100 concussions a year.”
Polamalu finally added that he was willing to lie in order to be there for his team.
“There’s so much built up about team camaraderie and sacrifice, and football is such a tough man’s game,” Polamalu said. “I think that’s why it’s so popular, why so many blue-collar communities and people feel really attracted to it, because it’s sort of a blue-collar struggle that football players go through in terms of the physicality of the game and the commitment you need. . . . It’s that commitment you need to play football. You feel sore, you’re beat up, you’re injured, you’re legitimately injured, most people may take three months off to work in an office, we choose to play the next week.”
With all of the off-season stories about the impact of concussions on former players, one would think Polamalu would take them a bit more seriously. Furthermore, you would have to think that Roger Goodell and the NFL’s front office will not take too kindly to these comments.