Monday, January 27, 2014
NFLN survey/player safety: Broncos
By Jeff Legwold
The Denver Broncos dealt with several concussions this season, particularly wide receiver Wes Welker, who suffered two in a four-game span during the regular season.
Welker actually left a Nov. 17 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, returned for four plays before being pulled and held out for the remainder of that game. He then worked through the concussion protocol the following week and was cleared to play in the next three games before suffering a second concussion Dec. 8 against the Tennessee Titans.
Welker was held out of the last three regular-season games before playing in the Broncos' two playoff games and he is on track to play in the Super Bowl.
The Broncos said Welker's return, like all of their players who have been through the concussion protocol this season, was "in the hands of our medical people," head coach John Fox said. Welker called the whole process "what needed to be done, that we just had to make sure everything was OK with the doctors."
And on the protocol he added: "I think we've taken a lot more action than what we would have in the past with this whole ordeal."
But in a survey of more than 320 players, conducted by ESPN.com's NFL Nation reporters, players were asked "True or false: I'd play in the Super Bowl with a concussion."
Eighty-five percent of the players said they would play in the championship game. Of the 10 Broncos who were surveyed, six said they would play in a Super Bowl with a concussion if the decision were left up to them while four said they would not, thinking of the long term.
And when players league-wide were asked "True or false: The NFL is committed to player safety," 60 percent said the league was, while 40 percent said no.
For the Broncos it was an even split, with five player offering they believed the NFL was committed to player safety, while five said the league was not. And all of the Broncos surveyed who did not think the league was committed to player safety all cited the continued discussions of an 18-game season and two of the players cited Thursday night games as well.
As one player surveyed said: "Don't tell me you're concerned about my safety and then tell me to play on Thursday or go to 18 games."