Student Well-Being

Colt McCoy Proves Difficulty of Regulating Student-Athlete Head Safety

By Bryan Toporek — December 20, 2011 1 min read

If you’re wondering why concussions have become such a major health problem for athletes of all ages, look no further than what recently transpired with Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.

Two weeks ago, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison leveled McCoy with a helmet-to-helmet hit, causing McCoy to crumple to the ground, holding his head. The Browns’ medical staff rushed onto the field and escorted McCoy to the sideline.

Less than four minutes later, McCoy re-entered the game.

The team revealed after the game that McCoy had sustained a concussion from the hit by Harrison. The only problem is, the Browns’ medical staff didn’t test McCoy for a concussion before allowing him to return to the game. They somehow didn’t realize how severe the hit was, Browns President Mike Holmgren said last week.

McCoy isn’t the first football player to re-enter a game after sustaining a concussion, unfortunately, and he likely won’t be the last. His story is yet another reminder that no matter how many rules are put in place to protect athletes (at all levels) against concussions, the athletes have a unique advantage when it comes to getting around the rules: They can try and hide their symptoms.

The Browns’ coaching staff said that McCoy didn’t start displaying symptoms of a concussion until after the game, justifying their decision to reinsert him so quickly. But McCoy’s father, Brad, told the .

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.