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Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Concussion ended Hillenmeyer's year

By Kevin Seifert

Hillenmeyer
Hillenmeyer
I applaud the Chicago Bears for being as open as they were on how, when and why a concussion has ended linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer's season. But I imagine that concussion-awareness advocates will still cringe when they read the time line. Here's how the Bears put it in a news release:
Hillenmeyer suffered the injury during the third preseason game versus the Arizona Cardinals and missed the preseason finale as a result. After passing all medical tests following the conclusion of the preseason schedule, he returned to practice prior to the season opener versus Detroit. Hillenmeyer was removed from last weekend's game at halftime after becoming ill during the contest.

In hindsight, of course, you wonder if playing last weekend was the right move for Hillenmeyer and the Bears. There is no mention of a second incident resulting in his illness Sunday, so we're left to presume it was related to the preseason concussion. In a statement released by the team, Hillenmeyer said he is "happy to see my team err on the side of caution." Presumably, he was referring to the decision to shut him down for the season.

There is no sense speculating on what happened here. We don't have enough details and may never. But we can say this: Hillenmeyer was one of three players removed from NFC North games last weekend because of concussions. The other two were Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb and linebacker Stewart Bradley. Given the direction concussion research is going in, I think you're going to hear a lot more about this issue in the near future.