Anyone who has been involved in any kind of sport in the past 20 years has heard the word concussion. Personally, being a freshman football coach, I’ve had to take at least a dozen courses on concussion prevention and treatment.
Concussion related issues are some of the most dangerous things in sports. We’ve seen what can happen when someone gets multiple concussions and continues to play. Anywhere from NFL Hall of Famer Junior Seau committing suicide, to WWE wrestler Chris Benoit killing his entire family and himself, CTE and post-concussion issues are incredibly serious.
All that being said, most of us saw what happened to Patrick Mahomes last Sunday evening. He took quite a shot to the noggin in the Chiefs Divisional round game against the Cleveland Browns. Every heart in Kansas City stopped for a minute when Mahomes had to be helped off of the field. Lucky for them, the ghost of Chad Henne made the two best plays of his long career to push them into the AFC Championship.
Then after the game, the conversation turned from win the game, to will Mahomes be able to play in the game this Sunday. The NFL seems to take concussions very seriously, and anyone with a working frontal lobe thought it may be all over for Mahomes.
Than it came out around lunchtime yesterday that Mahomes had cleared concussion protocol. Like most, I was flabbergasted. Players who go out with concussions, seem to miss more than 4 days of practice. According to consumer.healhday.com, last year the average player that was out with a concussion returned to play 19 days after the injury. I’m not theoretical astrophysicist or anything, but 4 days is lot fewer than 19.
That being said, I get that every concussion is different. Using what I’ve seen live in freshman football for the past 5 years, and the NFL in the past 15 years, Mahomes’ concussion looked rough. He was staggering around, could barely stand up and had a glazed look in his eyes. All of which are tell tale signs of pretty good concussion. The guy looked in tough shape.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, there is no way he passed the protocols. There has been enough time for him to do so.
In a run of the mill, regular season game, Patrick Mahomes doesn’t play Sunday. But we have to look at the bigger picture here. The NFL is a business. The idea of a Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes AFC Championship and a Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers NFC Championship, is Roger Goodell’s wet dream. The idea that Mahomes may not be able to play, takes some serious money making potential.
That is the main reason Mahomes was cleared. Money makes the world go around and keeps the NFL in a position of power in entertainment. I’m sure a little money was thrown around to the “Independent Neurologist” to make sure Mahomes was cleared.
As a football fan, I’m happy the guy is going to play. He is one of the most electric QBs I’ve seen in my time. Pair that with the gun slinging of Josh Allen, and we could see a hundred points scored on Sunday evening. Everyone would love every second of it. But as a realist, it is problematic to think the NFL is willing to risk their players health for money. Mahomes obviously wants to play, and I think that weighs into the decision. He’s a competitor. I’ve been in the situation myself, being hurt and wanting to play through it. Sometimes, level heads have to prevail and smart decisions need to be made. Especially from a league which has made concussions such a priority in the past decade.
I’ll be watching Sunday like the hypocrite I am. Mahomes will put up ungodly numbers and may win the game. But if he struggles, or shows some signs of not being right, there may be some trouble ahead.