Oakland Raiders: Fans and Players Must Remember That Safety Comes First


Sep 23, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson (97) and outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard (52) sack Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Raider Nation is standing on its ear, right now, wanting to know if Terrelle Pryor will play against the Redskins this Sunday in Oakland. Some are even wondering if he will start.

There has been much said about the condition of Pryor after he sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter on a monster hit from Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard. The hit came on a quarterback draw that left Pryor on the ground for a stretch before he continued to play. In a dazed state, he threw two more passes before retreating to the locker room as Matt Flynn took over the helm.

The NFL has agreed to pay $765 million to settle thousands of player lawsuits over head injuries. States have adopted concussion laws. As of March 1, 2013, 42 additional states and the District of Columbia have followed suit by enacting strong concussion safety laws.

Key provisions

  • Guidelines/education: Calls for school districts board of directors and state interscholastic activities association to develop concussion guidelines and educational programs.
  • Mandatory consent: Requires youth athletes and a parent and/or guardian sign and return a concussion and head injury information sheet on a yearly basis before the athlete’s first practice or being allowed to compete;
  • Immediate removal if concussion suspected: Youth athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion in a practice or game must be immediately removed from competition; and
  • Written clearance before return to play: Youth athletes who have been taken out of a game because of a suspected concussion are not allowed to return to play until after a) being evaluated by a health care provider with specific training in the evaluation and management of concussions and b) receiving written clearance to return to play from that health care provider (this does not strictly bar the same day return to play).

These are youth and high school provisions. NFL teams now have new, stricter instructions for when players should be allowed to return to games or practices after head injuries

Those include an inability to remember assignments or plays, a gap in memory, persistent dizziness, and persistent headaches. The new policy states, in part: “Once removed for the duration of a practice or game, the player should not be considered for return-to-football activities until he is fully asymptotic, both at rest and after exertion, has a normal neurological examination, normal neuropsychological testing, and has been cleared to return by both his team physician(s) and the independent neurological consultant.”

How much more money will the NFL spend on head injuries? Seven to 10 days is the minimum that any athlete should be removed from contact after suffering from concussion like or concussion syndromes.

Players want to play, and have learned how to play with an injury. Some have recanted how they played with concussions by avoiding the trainers and team physicians. While having their helmets taken away because of concussion like symptoms, some even take another players helmet and returning to the field to participate. Trainers have told stories of taking shoes away to keep players on the sideline and safe.

Players are the modern day gladiators, cast out on an artificial field of combat and expected to win. The are, however, expected to live a normal life after the battle with thoughts in hand.

Tracy Porter, who suffered a concussion against the Broncos, is probable (75% chance to play). Sio Moore, who was involved in a car accident and sustained a concussion, is probable as well.

However, Pryor is questionable (50% chance to play).

Get well to all of them.