Chargers safety Jahleel Addae suffered a concussion on Thursday that millions
of people analyzed immediately but wasn’t officially diagnosed until Friday.
This accentuates the need for more vigilance, and it comes close to screaming
That Addae’s concussion was not diagnosed until the next day is not
reason enough to be livid with Chargers medical personnel. A delayed onset
of symptoms – and, thus, diagnosis -- is not uncommon.
That Addae was allowed to continue playing after being so clearly staggered,
though, is evidence that intolerable holes exist in in-game procedures.
Mistakes happen. A football game is chaotic. I don’t believe Mike
McCoy or Tom Telesco or anyone else in the organization acted maliciously
But for the organization that endured the Kris Dielman nightmare –
the 2011 incident that changed how the league addresses possible in-game
head injuries – this is unfathomable.
Now, while our indignation is justified, let’s not allow it to be
fueled by ignorant arrogance. Let’s at least acknowledge there is
only so much we can know watching from the sideline, the press box or
What looks absolutely clear may, in fact, be murky.
“Sometimes it seems like something is very, very obvious,”
Dr. Vernon Williams, a neurologist and medical director of the Kerlan-Jobe
Center for Sports Neurology in Los Angeles, said Friday. “But that’s
not always how it pans out when the player is evaluated.”
That said, the Chargers and the NFL blew it.
And their blunder is a reminder that as far as the NFL has come in its
efforts to identify concussions, we must remain watchful over the players
and those charged with maintaining their safety.
In response to a request for comment, the NFL Players Association provided
this statement from assistant executive director of external affairs George
Atallah: “We are looking into this, as we do with all player health
and safety matters."
As it should be. The Chargers and/or those working for the NFL could have
done more to assess Addae during the game.
Addae twice on Thursday exhibited body language that suggested a severe
injury, going limp after a hit on the game’s first play from scrimmage
and staggering for several seconds after a helmet-to-helmet collision
in the third quarter.
He did not leave the field after either play and participated in 54 of
the Chargers’ 71 snaps.
That, Williams said after watching video replays the two plays, was “concerning.”
He noted the presence of team medical personnel, game officials and independent
medical observers on the sideline and in the press box.
“At some point,” Williams said, “you would have expected
someone to say, ‘Wait a minute. We need to look at that guy.’ “
Addae said after the game that he was fine. A team source said that Addae
was also evaluated to some extent after the game. However, observers in
the locker room Thursday night said Addae seemed to not recall the moments
after a helmet-to-helmet collision on the final play of the third quarter.