Skip to Content

Dr. Williams Shares Insight with San Diego Union-Tribune about Chargers S Jahleel Addae's Concussion

 San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium.   San Diego Chargers defensive back Jahleel Addae (37).

San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego Chargers defensive back Jahleel Addae (37). Sean M. Haffey U-T San Diego

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 negligence.

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 on Thursday.

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 the couch.

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.