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Old 01-06-2009, 06:00 AM   #1
A Son of Martha

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Default Head games: Big Ben '100% ready to go' vs Bolts

Head games: Big Ben '100% ready to go' vs Bolts
By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Monday he's looking forward to playing this weekend in the divisional playoffs after passing a test earlier in the day to measure his recovery from a concussion.

"The next test I am going to have to face is Sunday against the San Diego Chargers," said Roethlisberger, whose team will be at home for the game.

Roethlisberger later participated in a practice Monday with the Steelers and is set to resume drills again Wednesday after a day off. He did not practice last week.

Two weekends ago, the Pittsburgh quarterback was carted off the field with a concussion late in the first half of the Steelers regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns. The back of his helmet struck the ground after he was hit by two Cleveland linebackers.

Roethlisberger said he had numbness in his arms as he was being carted off and subsequent headaches that he said just went away a couple of days ago.

"It was scary, especially when you can't feel your arms," Roethlisberger said.

"When they scooped me up to put me on that (back board), I couldn't feel it. When you see the doctors looking at the trainer with that kind of look, it scares you a little bit."

Prior to the hit that sent him to the hospital for testing, Roethislberger had received a blow to the head on the previous play. Might that hit also have contributed to his concussion?

"That was like the left jab before the upper cut in a boxing match," he said. "That hit didn't feel good either."

NFL players are required to take "baseline" tests of brain function, administered during preseason and used as a tool in determining a player's level of recovery from a concussion and readiness to return to play.

Formally called ImPACT (Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), the computerized system utilizes a series of memory and recognition tests. The results of the post-concussion tests are compared to the baseline tests.

"They show you a bunch of words, and you have to remember what they were. You also have to remember shapes and colors and things like that," Roethlisberger said.

He said he went through several tests last week and another Monday morning. Had he passed the test prior to Monday?

"I don't know. I forget," he said, eliciting laughter from reporters.

Roethlisberger also sustained a concussion in a motorcycle accident in June 2006. He had another concussion in October 2006 against the Atlanta Falcons. He returned to play the following week and threw four interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, in a loss to the Oakland Raiders.

"It is nice that we had the week off (a playoff bye). That was a big help," Roethlisberger said. "We are taking every precaution necessary, the doctors and everybody."

Does he have concerns about taking another hit?

"None," he said. "You can't afford to. It's just like when a player comes off a knee surgery or some kind of injury. You can't go out there scared or afraid to get hurt because that is when you get hurt."

Backup Byron Leftwich replaced Roethlisberger against Cleveland.

Does Roethlisberger have any doubts about whether he will play against the Chargers?

"No, not unless coach (Mike Tomlin) doesn't let me go," he said. "I plan on being out there, 100%, ready to go."

Last week, Tomlin gave no indication he would hold Roethlisberger back

"We are going to proceed slowly with him because we have that luxury," the coach said. "But we feel comfortable with where he is capable of being next week in preparation for a game."
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Head games: Big Ben '100% ready to go' vs Bolts

Oh goodie - another brain damage thread.

"I plan on being out there, 100%, ready to go."

Atta boy
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:03 AM   #3
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Default Roethlisberger declares he's 'ready to go'

Roethlisberger declares he's 'ready to go'
Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ben Roethlisberger returned to practice Monday and said the concussion that knocked him out of the Steelers' regular-season finale won't be an issue in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game against San Diego.

Roethlisberger said passed an ImPACT test, which the Steelers and other NFL teams use to gauge where a player is physically and mentally after sustaining a concussion, and declared himself good to go for Sunday's 4:45 p.m. game at Heinz Field.

"The next test I'm going to face is Sunday against the Chargers," Roethlisberger said. "I plan on being out there and being 100 percent and ready to go."

One of the biggest questions leading up to Sunday will be how Roethlisberger plays in his first game since getting carted off the playing surface at Heinz Field on Dec. 28. He was knocked out of a game in October 2006 with a concussion and played the following week. Roethlisberger, however, threw four interceptions in the Steelers' 20-13 loss to Oakland.

One significant difference this time with Roethlisberger coming off a concussion is the extra time he has had to recover.

The Steelers were off last weekend they had a first-round playoff bye -- and Roethlisberger got the benefit of sitting out both practices the team held last week. Yesterday morning, he passed the test that measures reaction time, visual and verbal memory and hand-eye coordination, and doing so cleared Roethlisberger's return to practice.

The one thing no test can determine is how confident or jittery Roethlisberger will be in the pocket after absorbing a series of wicked blows the last time he was on the field.

The Steelers have a capable backup Byron Leftwich in case Roethlisberger gets hurt or falters against the Chargers. But veteran wide receiver Hines Ward said he does not expect Roethlisberger to be on a short leash because of the concussion or because Leftwich has played well in several relief stints this season.

"However the game goes, we're going to ride Ben's back the whole way," Ward said. "He's gotten us this far, and I'm going to continue to go out there and fight hard for him. It's great to have a guy like Byron if something were to happen, but I don't foresee Ben being (taken) out regardless of how the game goes."

The game probably can't end worse for Roethlisberger than his last one.

The fifth-year veteran hit the back of his head on the field after getting sandwiched by a pair of Browns linebackers. Roethlisberger stayed down after the play, and he was strapped to a stretcher as a precaution before being taken off the field near the end of the first half.

Roethlisberger said he temporarily lost feeling in both of his arms, though he gave fans a thumbs-up before his cart disappeared into one of the tunnels at Heinz Field.

Roethlisberger called the ordeal "scary" but insists he won't have any fear when he gets back onto the field Sunday.

"It's just like when a player comes off a knee surgery or some type of surgery. You can't go out there scared or afraid to get hurt because that's normally when you get hurt," Roethlisberger said. "I'm going to go out there and play normal football."

Concussed QBs

A handful of NFL quarterbacks have returned to the field this season after sustaining concussions, something Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will try to do Sunday in an AFC divisional playoff game against San Diego. Here is a look at how those quarterbacks fared in their first game back from the injury:

Derek Anderson, Browns: He suffered a concussion during the preseason, and in Cleveland's regular-season opener Anderson completed 11 of 24 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown in a lopsided loss to the Cowboys.

Marc Bulger, Rams: Central Catholic graduate returned from a concussion at the end of November and completed 16 of 35 passes for 149 yards and three interceptions in a loss to the Dolphins.

Trent Edwards, Bills: Edwards had the benefit of a bye week after sustaining a concussion in mid-October. In his first game following the injury, he completed 25 of 30 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions in a win over the Chargers.

Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks: Seattle coach Mike Holmgren strongly hinted that Hasselbeck was still feeling the effects of a concussion in a late-November game against the Redskins. In the loss, Hasselbeck completed 12 of 24 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions.

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