Medical consultant Richard Ellenbogen sees progress in NFL's responses to concussions
A decision to let Philadelphia linebacker Stewart Bradley back into the season opener led to significant improvement in the detection and treatment of concussions during the rest of the 2010 season, a key NFL medical consultant said Monday.
NEW YORK — A puzzling decision to let Philadelphia linebacker Stewart Bradley back into the season opener led to significant improvement in the detection and treatment of concussions during the rest of the 2010 season, a key NFL medical consultant said Monday.
Dr. Richard Ellenbogen cited the way concussions to two Seattle Seahawks — tight end John Carlson and defensive back Marcus Trufant — were handled in a 35-24 playoff loss at Chicago as proof the league had taken major steps to ensure such injuries are treated properly.
Ellenbogen is the chairman of the University of Washington's department of neurological surgery.
Asked if the incident with a woozy Bradley being allowed back on the field in Philadelphia spurred the improvement, Ellenbogen said in a conference call, "Had that not happened, we may not have had the NFL sideline examination (for concussions) this year."
The league has standardized those examinations for all 32 teams. Ellenbogen, co-chairman of the league's head, neck and spine committee, said such standardization "will protect against exactly what happened in Philadelphia."
During the Eagles' 27-20 loss to Green Bay, quarterback Kevin Kolb got a concussion. While Kolb was being examined, Bradley also was injured and had staggered off the field. Yet Bradley soon was back playing before being removed for the rest of the game.
"That was the exception and not the rule," Ellenbogen said before praising the way injuries to Carlson and Trufant were handled Jan. 16.
Carlson suffered a concussion and was carted off in a situation handled "perfectly," Ellenbogen said.
When Trufant was hurt later in the game, Ellenbogen said, "team physicians and professional athletic trainers were all over that."
"Remember, when someone is concussed on the field, there are other doctors and trainers watching the game," Ellenbogen said. "So when one player gets concussed, we have others who are watching to ensure the situation in Philadelphia will not occur."
• Five retired players are suing the NFL Players Association in federal court, claiming the organization denied them and other former athletes lucrative royalties from licensing deals that used their images.
Among those suing are ex-Washington Redskins receiver Walter Roberts III, ex-Baltimore Colts linebacker Bob Grant and ex-Cincinnati Bengals safety Marvin Cobb.
• The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Chicago Bears at London's Wembley Stadium on Oct. 23 if the league season isn't altered by a labor dispute.
• Al Kelly, former American Express president, was named chief executive officer for the 2014 Super Bowl at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The stadium is home to the New York Giants and Jets.