As much as is talked about player safety in the NFL and a focus on the importance of understanding and diagnosing head injuries, there is one undeniable truth.
When it comes to games of more importance, players just might not care.
Take Dorin Dickerson, for example. The Detroit Lions tight end suffered a concussion in a critical game for the Lions this season in Week 16 against the New York Giants. If the Lions won, they would still be alive for the playoffs. If they lost, their playoff hopes would be over.
And Dickerson had become the No. 2 tight end after Brandon Pettigrew suffered an ankle injury against Baltimore in Week 15. Dickerson had bounced on-and-off of the team for much of the season, and this was his chance to prove himself.
So when he suffered the concussion in the second half, he didn’t tell anyone. He continued playing. It wasn’t until he admitted it to reporters after the game that anyone knew anything was wrong.
“Got a little concussion. Should have reported it,” Dickerson said that day. “Thought I could get through it.”
The Lions eventually said he reported the concussion during overtime of the 23-20 loss to New York -- after he had dropped a pass and was called for holding on back-to-back plays.
So now imagine it is the Super Bowl, the game a player has been waiting his whole life to reach. In the case of the Lions, this would be the first time the team had ever made the championship game.
From the vibe of the players who took the survey inside the Detroit locker room, they would play with a concussion if it meant participating in the game they have practiced and played their whole life for.
Even if they knew it would be the wrong thing to do for their health in the long term.