Chicago Breaking Sports has some comments from Hunter Hillenmeyer on the Bears’ decision to put him on injured reserve:
“I still fought a battle at halftime of that day,” he said. "I’m like, ‘I know I should tell the doctors but I don’t want to come out of the game.’ I feel like if I am fighting that battle in my head, then you know there are guys who have a much less secure roster spot and aren’t vested veterans who know that they don’t have to worry about the financial part of the situation, they might not even know and not care.
“The system is never going to be perfect. Anything they could do like that whether it’s adding people to the roster or finding something where it’s not an all-or-nothing, IR-and-you’re-done for-the-year situation, I think would set up incentives for players to be more candid about their symptoms.”
That’s really the crux of the issue. Players don’t want to come out of games or tell coaches they think they have a problem because they feel they’ll be viewed as weak or unwilling to play through injuries, which all athletes do.
But when it comes to concussions — brain injuries — it’s good that the NFL and teams are being more proactive, because football is a much more violent game than it was years ago. Even so, many former players who are now in their 60s are feeling the effects of all that contact to their head, as chronicled in the Sun-Times Rick Telander’s excellent series on football’s effects on the brain.
It’s something the NFL has to address, and soon, before someone gets killed on the playing field.