Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Monday, January 27, 2014
NFLN survey/player safety: Texans

By Tania Ganguli

The results of these two survey questions surprised me.

We asked 320 players, 10 from each NFL team, to answer true or false: "I would play in the Super Bowl with a concussion," and "the NFL is committed to player safety."

Given the skepticism I've heard from players both on and off the record since I started covering the NFL, I was surprised to see that more players than not believe the NFL is committed to player safety.

One hundred and ninety-two players answered true, and 128 answered false. I had a mixture of responses when I polled 10 Texans.

As for playing in a Super Bowl with a concussion, an overwhelming number of players said they would. Only 48 said they wouldn't. That the number was so high surprised me given how many scoffs and "of course, no brainer" responses I got.

Getting to the Super Bowl is an experience most players don't want to miss, no matter what the consequences. I also don't think the consequences of a traumatic brain injury are as concrete to those players who say they would play with a concussion as injuries that prevent physical movement.

This is part of why it's foolish to say players should be held accountable for following the league's concussion protocol. Sure, their cooperation is needed for the protocol to work properly, but a player's motivation might differ from the doctor's. Further, how clearly can someone suffering from concussion symptoms be expected to think?