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I-Want-Troy's-Hair
02-02-2007, 01:29 AM
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FBN_PATRIOTS_JOHNSON_CONCUSSIONS?SITE=PAGRE&SECTION=SPORTS&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Johnson says Belichick ignored condition

NEW YORK (AP) -- Former New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson said coach Bill Belichick subjected him to hard hits in practice while he was recovering from a concussion - against the advice of the team's top trainer.

Johnson, who helped the Patriots win three Super Bowl titles before retiring two years ago, told The New York Times that a collision with another player during that 2002 practice led to another concussion. And, after sustaining additional concussions over the next three seasons, he now forgets people's names, misses appointments and suffers from depression and an addiction to amphetamines.

"There's something wrong with me," the 34-year-old Johnson told the Times in a story posted on its Web site Thursday night. "There's something wrong with my brain. And I know when it started."

The Boston Globe, which is owned by the Times, posted a similar story on its Web site.

Johnson, who played 10 years in the NFL, said he began to deteriorate in August 2002 with a concussion during an exhibition game against the New York Giants. He sustained another concussion four days later after Belichick prodded him to participate in a full-contact practice, even though he was supposed to be avoiding hits, Johnson said.

The next month, with their relationship already strained, Johnson confronted Belichick about the practice after the coach asked him to meet in his office.

"I told him, `You played God with my health. You knew I shouldn't have been cleared to play,'" Johnson told the Globe.

Belichick told the Globe he got no cue from Johnson in practice that day that he was hesitant about participating in the full-contact drill.

"If Ted felt so strongly that he didn't feel he was ready to practice with us, he should have told me," Belichick said.

The Patriots did not allow Jim Whalen, still their head trainer, to comment for this story, according to the Globe.

Patriots spokesman Stacey James told The Associated Press on Thursday night that the team was aware of the report but was not prepared to comment.

In a story last month, the Times reported that brain damage caused on the football field ultimately led to the suicide of former NFL defensive back Andre Waters last November, according to a forensic pathologist who studied Waters' brain tissue.

"We have been focused on the issue of concussions for years," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the AP. "It remains one of our prime concerns as we continue to do everything possible to protect the health of our players."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to answer questions about the issue at his annual state of the NFL news conference Friday.

Dr. Lee H. Schwamm, the neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who examined Johnson, wrote in a memo on Aug. 19, 2002, that Johnson sustained a second concussion in that practice, the Times reported.

Schwamm also wrote that, after speaking with Whalen, that the trainer "was on the sidelines when he sustained the concussion during the game and assessed him frequently at the sideline," and that "he has kept Mr. Johnson out of contact since that time."

Johnson said he spoke with Belichick the next day about the incident, but only briefly, the Times said.

"He was vaguely acknowledging that he was aware of what happened," Johnson said, "and he wanted to just kind of let me know that he knew."

Johnson sat out the next two preseason games on the advice of his neurologist, but played in the final one. Then, thinking he was still going to be left off the active roster for the season opener against Pittsburgh, he angrily left camp for two days before returning and meeting with Belichick.

"It's as clear as a bell, 'I had to see if you could play,'" Johnson recalled Belichick saying, according to the Times.

Moments later, Johnson said, Belichick admitted he had made a mistake by subjecting him to a full-contact drill.

"It was a real kind of admittance, but it was only him and I in the room," Johnson told the Times.

After returning to game action, the linebacker sustained more concussions of varying severity over the following three seasons, each of them exacerbating the next, according to his current neurologist, Dr. Robert Cantu.

Cantu told the Times he was certain that Johnson's problems "are related to his previous head injuries, as they are all rather classic postconcussion symptoms."

He added, "They are most likely permanent."

Cantu, the chief of neurosurgery and director of sports medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass., also said Johnson shows signs of early Alzheimer's disease.

"The majority of those symptoms relentlessly progress over time," Cantu said. "It could be that at the time he's in his 50s, he could have severe Alzheimer's symptoms."

Johnson told the Globe he estimates he had at least six concussions in his last three seasons, but reported only one because he already had a reputation as an injury-prone player and he didn't want to make it worse.

"Looking back, it was stupid not to tell anyone," Johnson said. "But I didn't know then that every time you have a concussion, you are four to six times more susceptible the next time. I had no idea the damage I was causing myself."

Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, spoke in general terms about concussions at a news conference Thursday in Miami, where the Super Bowl will be played Sunday.

"If a coach or anyone else is saying, 'You don't have a concussion, you get back in there,' you don't have to go, and you shouldn't go," Upshaw said, not speaking about Johnson's case specifically. "You know how you feel. That's what we tried to do throughout the years, is take the coach out of the decision-making. It's the medical people that have to decide."

Upshaw told the AP that concussions are one of the issues the union is examining this year.

"We've seen a number of concussions in the NFL this year, and as a result of our studies, we've seen a change in the helmet. We're also studying the effects of that on concussions," Upshaw said.

Livinginthe past
02-02-2007, 07:19 AM
Wow.

Thats pretty shocking stuff.

Here's another link to the globe, which goes into more detail on the subject.

http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/articles/2007/02/01/145i_don146t_want_anyone_to_end_up_like_me146/?page=full

The last I heard from Ted Johnson was a few months back when it seemed he was hinting at a return (it may have been around the time Seau got injured).

The guy sounds like a mental and physical wreck - devastating stuff.

‘‘Officially, I’ve probably only been listed as having three or four concussions in my career,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘But the real number is closer to 30, maybe even more. I’ve been dinged so many times I’ve lost count.’’

Wow...30 concussions?

Alot of this story seems absolutely crazy, especially where he is able to pinpoint where it all started - being made to practice with a blue jersey instead of the red non-contact one, and then being forced into a full contact practice by Belichick and then suffering a 2nd concussion straight away.....wow.

It will interesting to see where this one goes, hopefully Ted can make as close to a full recovery as possible.

NM

PisnNapalm
02-02-2007, 07:28 AM
If this is how things went down.... Man oh man... They really need to keep track of his symptoms and monitor him closely. Is this another Andre Waters kind of case?

Livinginthe past
02-02-2007, 07:38 AM
If this is how things went down.... Man oh man... They really need to keep track of his symptoms and monitor him closely. Is this another Andre Waters kind of case?

Seems like the one thing that nobody has been doing up until now is doing just that - monitoring his condition.

I think he is addicted to amphetamines and his personal life has totally unravelled, and the first we really hear about it is now.

Im glad the Patriots are being relatively forthcoming with information, this isn't a time to keep things in-house.

Earlier this week, Johnson requested his medical records from the Patriots. He was pleased the concussion he suffered in that game against the Giants in 2002 was documented, along with notations he was not cleared to play. The subsequent concussion he suffered in practice four days later is also on record.

NM

HometownGal
02-02-2007, 07:56 AM
What a sad story. No matter how this situation turns out, I really feel for the guy.

That being said, though, this statement kind of stood out:


"Looking back, it was stupid not to tell anyone," Johnson said. "But I didn't know then that every time you have a concussion, you are four to six times more susceptible the next time. I had no idea the damage I was causing myself."


Why wouldn't his neurologist have told him this information?

On the flip side of the coin - after several concussions and his symptoms obviously getting worse, I would think it would have been time to hang up the cleats.

stlrtruck
02-02-2007, 09:01 AM
Wow.

Thats pretty shocking stuff.

Here's another link to the globe, which goes into more detail on the subject.

http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/articles/2007/02/01/145i_don146t_want_anyone_to_end_up_like_me146/?page=full

The last I heard from Ted Johnson was a few months back when it seemed he was hinting at a return (it may have been around the time Seau got injured).

The guy sounds like a mental and physical wreck - devastating stuff.


I guess he missed his appointment and couldn't get in to see the coach.

Atlanta Dan
02-02-2007, 09:07 AM
Here is the link to the New York Times article, which includes a multimedia sidebar on concussion recovery periods and vulnerability to long term damage if another concussion is sustained during the recovery period.

This is the second big article in the Times (the last article was on Andre Walters having the brain tissue of an 80 year old at the time of his suicide) in which the topic has been the long term consequences of concussions suffered by NFL players. If I worked for the NFL or NFLPA I would be concerned that the Times appears to be teeing up this subject as a topic for ongoing reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/02/sports/football/02concussions.html?hp&ex=1170478800&en=731f5639081f0d2d&ei=5094&partner=homepage

The multimedia graphic in the Times article appears to indicate the recovery period for a concussion, during which a player is at risk of severe adverse consequences if another blow to the head is sustained, can run up to at least 9 - 12 days. A certain franchise QB for a recent defending Super Bowl champ played within 7 days of sustaining a concussion and certainly did not appear to be firing on all cylinders when he played that next game. Why the Steelers put Ben in harm's way that day continues to be something I regard as unconscionable, as is also the case with playing Troy the next week after he was clearly wiped out during the Saints game.

HometownGal
02-02-2007, 09:19 AM
A certain franchise QB for a recent defending Super Bowl champ played within 7 days of sustaining a concussion and certainly did not appear to be firing on all cylinders when he played that next game. Why the Steelers put Ben in harm's way that day continues to be something I regard as unconscionable.

I don't think these two situations are alike, Dan, in that Belichick is rumored to have prodded Johnson to practice/play against his will, as well as against his physicians' advice. In Ben's situation, Cowher based his decision to play Ben on his neurologist clearing him to play and Ben stating himself that he was ready to play, which are really the only two criteria in which he could base his decision on. NFL coaches are not licensed physicians.

I went round and round with some here on the concussion issue and the long-term effects that these types of injuries most often cause and was actually horrified that Dr. Maroon cleared Ben to play so soon after his second concussion. There were quite a few members here who felt Ben should play if he was cleared by his doctors and felt well enough to get back in there, which he stated he was. I for the most part, disagreed.

The NFL most definitely needs to take a look at the concussion issue and do it sooner rather than later. From what Upshaw states in the article above, they've already begun addressing this issue.

Atlanta Dan
02-02-2007, 10:06 AM
HTG - sorry if I left the misimpression that I was alleging the Steelers conduct in letting Ben play was as callous as the alleged actions of Belichik pressuring Ted Johnson to play. And there certainly are other examples of more outrageous conduct, such as the Bronco player (the name of whom I cannot recall) who suffered a concussion in the game at Heinz in November and was put back in the same game by Shanahan.

As you stated, Ben's concussion and the decision to have him play the next week were the subject of intense posting here in October and early November. Every individual heals differently, but given that it appears the typical recovery period from a significant concussion extends beyond 7 days and the apparent catastrophic consequences of another concussion during the recovery period, the risk does not appear to justify playing anyone the week immediately after a concussion.

It probably is going to take some more big time verdicts (such as that won by Mike Webster's family) before the NFL and NFLPA modify their approach to addressing concussions sustained by players.

Cape Cod Steel Head
02-02-2007, 06:06 PM
Say it isn't so. God made a mistake.

sumo
02-02-2007, 06:43 PM
I've been saying all along - this is going to be one of the biggest issues in the NFL - still even now, with everything known about concussions, players are being cleared within a few days -- someday, tragically, I suspect we will be reading something similiar to this about Troy. The NFL needs to hire independant doctors in every NFL city and hold them accountable - there should also be mandatory waiting periods for concussions - no way should somebody be playing the very next game after sustaining a concussion.

tony hipchest
02-02-2007, 06:44 PM
- there should also be mandatory waiting periods for concussions - no way should somebody be playing the very next game after sustaining a concussion. they probably need to expand the 53 man roster then.

Atlanta Dan
02-02-2007, 07:03 PM
they probably need to expand the 53 man roster then.

Bingo - we have a winner!

This is a cost/benefit issue for the league - it is cheaper to put injured players back in and when they are used up kick them to the curb than expand rosters and have a mandatory exclusion period after a player sustains a concussion.

The problem the league is facing is that, like the tobacco industry, the league is locked into denying there is a problem to avoid opening the floodgates to litigation. However, there is enough independent research out there that the Webster family is just the first of many plaintiffs that are going to force the NFL and NFLPA to pay out the significantly greater disability benefits that are owed to players determined to have been disabled at the time they left the game. It is pure economics - the NFL and its lapdog "union" the NFLPA will change their position when it no longer is cost effective to defend the currrent policy of denial.

The media takes its cues from The New York Times as to what is regarded as a major story and the NYT has put this story on the front burner.

tony hipchest
02-02-2007, 07:24 PM
Bingo - we have a winner!

This is a cost/benefit issue for the league - it is cheaper to put injured players back in and when they are used up kick them to the curb than expand rosters and have a mandatory exclusion period after a player sustains a concussion.

The problem the league is facing is that, like the tobacco industry, the league is locked into denying there is a problem to avoid opening the floodgates to litigation. However, there is enough independent research out there that the Webster family is just the first of many plaintiffs that are going to force the NFL and NFLPA to pay out the significantly greater disability benefits that are owed to players determined to have been disabled at the time they left the game. It is pure economics - the NFL and its lapdog "union" the NFLPA will change their position when it no longer is cost effective to defend the currrent policy of denial.

The media takes its cues from The New York Times as to what is regarded as a major story and the NYT has put this story on the front burner.excellent assesment which i think is indicative of what direction the league may be going in, in future years. tough guys like big ben definitely dont want to miss a game because of a knock on the noggin the week prior (raider game). the league doesnt want to see superstars like t. polamalu miss any time when they (and the team dr.'s) say they are fine to play.

whats the solution? a crackdown in rules that will protect players even more and prevent the "jacked up" type of hits the fans have come to expect and love.

football has always been a violent collision sport. its unavoidable. it may be much more watered down in the next 10 years though.

Preacher
02-02-2007, 08:01 PM
IThe NFL needs to hire independant doctors in every NFL city and hold them accountable - there should also be mandatory waiting periods for concussions - no way should somebody be playing the very next game after sustaining a concussion.

Two comments on this post.

1. In theory you are absolutely right. If a person has a concussion... SIT. PERIOD.

2. Wanna see a dramatic decrease in concussions? Put in a rule that says you must sit if there is a concussion. Unfortunately, that is exactly what will happen. I love the idea, but I think the end result will not be what we want.

So what is my idea? It seems many of the concussions happen because of the unbelievable size and speed of the players... So limit size!

Set weight limits on EVERY POSITION. You can only be such and such weight at each position... For instance.. Lineman can only weigh up to say... 280. AND... only what... 20 percent over BMI index? Rules like that would stop many knee problems that shorten careers, stop heart/vascular disease... and also possibly stop some of the concussions. Then again, maybe not!

sumo
02-03-2007, 01:02 AM
So what is my idea? It seems many of the concussions happen because of the unbelievable size and speed of the players... So limit size!

Set weight limits on EVERY POSITION. You can only be such and such weight at each position... For instance.. Lineman can only weigh up to say... 280. AND... only what... 20 percent over BMI index? Rules like that would stop many knee problems that shorten careers, stop heart/vascular disease... and also possibly stop some of the concussions. Then again, maybe not!

NFL use to be this way - after Stringer's death - Bradshaw went on a long rant about weight limits and conditioning regimens that used to be unofficial but standard for every team...

Another interesting point from this article was Johnson admitting an addiction to stimulants - one of the last things Webster did before he died was forge a perscription for ritalin...poor guys can't concentrate or focus with the post concussion symptoms..

Preacher
02-03-2007, 02:35 AM
Ritalin is a whole different ball-game again. From what I hear, 80% of people who take ritalin end up having serious problems. Drugs, psych problems, etc.

RoethlisBURGHer
02-03-2007, 10:29 AM
Ritalin is a whole different ball-game again. From what I hear, 80% of people who take ritalin end up having serious problems. Drugs, psych problems, etc.

Part of the ritalin problem is that it's used for treatment of bipolar aka manic depressive people...and many people are misdiagnosed.It doesn't help that peoplre give thier ridalin to kids who can't behave or stay calm either.

When prescribed to someone who needs it,the drug does wonders.When given to someone who doesn't need it,it does damage...like jsut about all rx drugs.

Preacher
02-03-2007, 04:31 PM
Part of the ritalin problem is that it's used for treatment of bipolar aka manic depressive people...and many people are misdiagnosed.It doesn't help that peoplre give thier ridalin to kids who can't behave or stay calm either.

When prescribed to someone who needs it,the drug does wonders.When given to someone who doesn't need it,it does damage...like jsut about all rx drugs.


It does wonders now. But what has been found out, is that it has many damaging effects for the kids when they become adults.

SteelersTilIDie
02-03-2007, 08:25 PM
Bill Belichek is a foolish ego-maniac. All he cares about is himself, and this is a perfect example.

sumo
02-03-2007, 11:09 PM
It does wonders now. But what has been found out, is that it has many damaging effects for the kids when they become adults.

I should have jumped back in - I'm not arguing about Ritalin's effectiveness, or any other stimulants - my point was these guys get desperate - they used to have sharp minds - with post-concussion syndrome, they can't focus or concentrate long enough to perform even the simplest tasks- the stimulants no doubt give them at least the short term ability to concentrate - I'm sure that's what Webster was after and what Johnson and others are struggling with ....the whole thing is sad...

Preacher
02-04-2007, 12:18 AM
I should have jumped back in - I'm not arguing about Ritalin's effectiveness, or any other stimulants - my point was these guys get desperate - they used to have sharp minds - with post-concussion syndrome, they can't focus or concentrate long enough to perform even the simplest tasks- the stimulants no doubt give them at least the short term ability to concentrate - I'm sure that's what Webster was after and what Johnson and others are struggling with ....the whole thing is sad...

Sure is.

tony hipchest
02-05-2007, 01:42 PM
i think belichick is rapidly deteriorating from a "great" coach to just a good one. public perception isnt good. he should quit, and not have a career tarnished like jimmy johnson or bill parcels.

from peter kings MMQB:

2. New England (14-5). On a serious note, you can't tell me that the free agents New England tries to recruit this year aren't going to look at Bill Belichick and wonder: "Are those charges that Ted Johnson made true ... the ones about being coerced to play with a concussion?''

Atlanta Dan
02-05-2007, 02:57 PM
Like most coaches, 'Chick is as "smart" as his personnel. Noll got a lot dumber after those early 70s draft classes retired.

The only 2 pro coaches I can recall who got out on top were Lombardi (who died after only one yera of his comeback with the Redskins so his legacy was not tainted) and Walsh.

If Belichick follows the standard career glide path, his less pleasant traits will be focused upon if he quits going to and winning SBs on a regular basis & his image will be degraded accordingly. Since he will still be getting paid and pressumably continue to enjoy coaching, IMHO he will care about his rep slipping about as much as Noll did, which is to say not at all.

What could upset the apple cart is if Ted Johnson sues Belichick individually, but I think that would be difficult if not impossible to do given the standard waivers in player contracts that limit players to collecting disability benefits for on the job injuries.

Atlanta Dan
02-06-2007, 10:40 PM
Add Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN Tuesday Morning Quarterback to those who think that litigation will be what forces the NFL to deal with the festering problem of long term disability tied to player concussions:

Time to Use Ours Heads About Helmets: If you haven't already, you need to read the two recent New York Times articles by Alan Schwarz: one on whether brain damage linked to playing injuries contributed to the suicide of former Eagles safety Andre Waters, the other on whether severe playing concussions have caused brain damage to former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson. Various studies suggest that former NFL players have shorter life expectancies than the population as a whole, while suffering higher rates of degenerative conditions. So far most attempts by former NFL players to sue for damages over their health circumstances have not been looked on favorably by courts, owing mainly to the "assumption of risk" doctrinaire that applies to adults who voluntarily do perilous things for pay. But something tells me these brain-injury cases are the beginning of the end for the NFL not having legal responsibility for long-term health harm to players. And should be the beginning of the end.

Obviously football is a contact sport. But the pro and big-college versions of the game are run by wealthy, comfortable people who never place themselves at any risk, while urging young, impressionable, eager performers to prove their manhood by playing through injury and pain. This is not healthy, in many senses of the word. Every big-college and NFL player knows there is a stigma attached to saying, "Coach, it hurts, I'm worried about going out there." The rich, comfortable people who run the NFL and big-college football also know it is common for fabulously fit young athletes to consider themselves immortal. The rich, comfortable people in charge know this isn't true ? they've seen the conditions of 50-year-old former players who once believed themselves immortal. But the rich, comfortable in charge don't warn the young, impressionable people, and therefore allow them to come to harm that might have been avoided. This does not sound like responsible behavior.

Maybe it is time that courts said legal liability is engaged; or better, for football to reform itself. If one team tried to have stricter medical-protection policies while others did not, that team would be at a competitive damage ? reform must come across the sport. NFL and big-college conferences. Do this now, on your own, before some court imposes an outcome on you.

And for goodness sake, for those programs that still haven't switched to the new Riddell Revolution anti-concussion helmet, or an equivalent, get wise! My kids' high school has been all-Revo for three years; we held a fundraising drive to go Revo, having seen the concussion research that came years before the current wave of concern. The pros and college, where money is not an issue, simply should not allow players on the field unless wearing a Revolution helmet or another with an equivalent anti-concussion design. Some players don't want to go Revolution because they don't like the look of the alien-monster bulging ridge on the new helmet designs, preferring the traditional perfect-globe look. So NFL owners and college conferences, just enact a rule that forces everyone to wear anti-concussion headgear. For some high schools, the price of new helmets is an issue: the Revo costs $170, versus $143 for the standard Riddell VSR model. Adams and Schutt standard models cost less still, while many high schools use reconditioned standard helmets that sell for as little as $50. But school boards, the best helmets are a lot cheaper than losing a major lawsuit. For that matter, why do Riddell, Schutt and Adams even still sell football helmets that lack anti-concussion design features? Helmet manufacturers and sports supply chains should agree jointly to cease commerce in helmets without the best medical design. You know there's a lawyer out there planning the lawsuit that will force them to do so

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrook/070206