x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Concussion knocks Detroit Lions and Dickerson out of play-offs

Not that another incentive aside from their health is needed to remove punch-drunk players from the field, but consider this: Dickerson’s condition partly cost the Lions a win, writes Mike Tierney.

Dorin Dickerson, shown here while playing at Pittsburgh in college, made two costly plays last week for the Detroit Lions, which knocked them out of play-off contention. He later admitted that he suffered a concussion during the game. Dave Martin / AP Photo
Dorin Dickerson, shown here while playing at Pittsburgh in college, made two costly plays last week for the Detroit Lions, which knocked them out of play-off contention. He later admitted that he suffered a concussion during the game. Dave Martin / AP Photo

The message is penetrating helmets and the thick skulls of stubborn players: take no risks with concussions.

Tacklers are leading less often with their heads. Game officials are dropping penalty flags to punish and deter dangerous hits. Woozy players are heeding league guidelines for recovery rather than rushing back into action.

Still, temptation remains to ignore warning signs, especially among lesser players. Last Sunday, the unheralded Detroit tight end Dorin Dickerson says he was briefly knocked out and concussed, unbeknownst to the Lions, without removing himself.

Not that another incentive aside from their health is needed to remove punch-drunk players from the field, but consider this: Dickerson’s condition partly cost the Lions a win. On consecutive snaps in overtime, he muffed a pass and committed a holding penalty. Detroit’s loss to the New York Giants drove them out of play-off contention.

Dickerson’s lame defence: he was playing well and planned to fight through the grogginess.

One of his comments to the media afterward should sound alarms for those who rue heightened concussion awareness. He said: “Honestly, probably after we leave here I probably won’t remember talking to you guys.”

Concussions loom as the most serious threat to pro football’s continued prosperity. The league should appoint Dickerson to deliver cautionary speeches around the league about his experiences – if he can recall them.

sports@thenational.ae