A recent annonymous survey by ESPN.com found that 85 percent of the 320 players polled said they would play in the Super Bowl with a concussion.
Like many people, I was taken aback by this staggering number, but probably for different reasons.
Most fans will see that statistic and think, “How can they be so stupid?” With all of the information available with just a quick Google search and a wave of media coverage, some find it hard to believe anyone would play with any “concussion-like symptoms,” let alone an actual diagnosed concussion.
However, anyone who has ever played the game, or any sport for that matter, knows they would play in the biggest game of the year with a concussion, too.
I was shocked to see that 15 percent of the players lied; there’s no way any of them would willingly sit out of the Super Bowl with a concussion.
These players have worked their entire lives for a chance to play in the biggest sporting event in the country. Some have escaped poverty, while many have overcome other great obstacles.
Michael Oher’s story is well-known to the general public because it was shared in a best-selling book by Michael Lewis and then made into a movie, The Blind Side. People don’t realize that Oher is just one of hundreds of players who made the NFL against all odds.
These athletes put their bodies through grueling workouts that a normal person couldn’t even fathom. They won’t let a concussion stop them. It’s that way on every level in every sport.
If my high school football team made the state championship game, the only way I wouldn’t suit up and play is if I was paralyzed and physically couldn’t put on my pads.
Heck, if I was on an intramural flag football team that made the playoffs, I wouldn’t sit out with a concussion. That’s just how athletes are wired.
The players in the NFL are grown men capable of making decisions for themselves. They know the dangers of playing their sport, but they love it and choose to continue playing.
By the time they reach the Super Bowl, even if they’re a rookie, they have already played three or four years in college, four years of high school, a couple years in junior high or middle school and probably several years in pee wee. One more game, in their minds, won’t hurt.
And you know what? They’re probably right. I know scientific studies have shown otherwise, but it’s the Super Bowl. If it was a preseason game or insignificant regular season game, it might be a different story, but not the Super Bowl.
If faced with the decision to play or not to play in the Super Bowl with a concussion, I guarantee 100 percent would play. No doubt about it.