View Full Version : Steelers safety Polamalu knows concussions

11-30-2011, 05:41 AM
Steelers safety Polamalu knows concussions

By Scott Brown
Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It doesn't look like Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu will have to settle for the role of reluctant spectator Sunday.

Polamalu is on track to play against Cincinnati after concussion-like symptoms knocked him out of the Steelers' 13-9 win at Kansas City this past Sunday night.

"Troy Polamalu hasn't had any concussion symptoms since we got back here," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "He will have to pass a battery of tests in order to participate (Sunday). We are comfortable at this juncture that it will happen."

There is always a caveat when it comes to concussions, and that is particularly true for Polamalu, who has experienced concussion-like symptoms twice this season.

The six-time Pro Bowler has a history with brain trauma, dating to high school.

Before this season, Polamalu had suffered at least seven diagnosed concussions while playing football, including two with the Steelers (2006 and '08). He had three in college at USC and two in high school.

The Steelers had Polamalu undergo a neurological exam at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center before taking the Southern Cal product in the first round of the 2003 draft.

"Obviously, we are sensitive to his concussion history," Tomlin said, "and we are always going to exercise the necessary precaution when dealing with it. Troy has been good. We anticipate it being a non-issue moving forward this week."

Polamalu left the Steelers' 17-13 win over Jacksonville on Oct. 16 after tackling Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He returned the following week. Polamalu took another blow to the head Sunday, when he took out the legs of Steve Maneri after the Chiefs offensive tackle made a reception.

Polamalu tried to lobby his way back into the game, and when the defense was on the field, he stood on the sidelines wearing his helmet.

"He always does (that), not only him but many others," Tomlin said. "Oftentimes that is the case. That's why we have medical experts there to assist us in terms of decision making. We will always lean on their expertise."

Ryan Mundy played in place of Polamalu, and the Woodland Hills graduate had a game-high 10 tackles as well as an interception that set up the game's only touchdown.

Barring setbacks, the Steelers could be as healthy on defense as they've been since the beginning of the season.

In addition to Polamalu, the Steelers are optimistic that outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley will play against the Bengals after missing the past three games with a hamstring injury.

The Steelers will try to sweep Cincinnati for the second consecutive season. They beat the Bengals, 24-17, on Nov. 13 but came away impressed with quarterback Andy Dalton.

Dalton, a leading contender for Rookie of the Year honors, led the Bengals back from an early 14-0 deficit. Last Sunday, he rallied the Bengals from a 10-point halftime deficit in a 23-20 win over Cleveland.

"He makes generally good decisions, and he makes them quickly," Tomlin said. "That's an awesome statement to make about a young quarterback in this business. But I believe it to be true in regards to him. He takes care of the football. He doesn't throw a lot of interceptions, and he doesn't get sacked."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

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