Millions of people who watched Sunday’s Eagles-Packers game on television saw linebacker Stewart Bradley stumble and fall to the ground after he tried to get up following his concussion-causing collision with teammate Ernie Sims in the second quarter. But apparently, no one from the team’s medical or training staffs that treated Bradley on the sideline immediately afterward saw either the hit or his struggle to get to his feet.
"Apparently, the Eagles’ trainers and team physicians didn’t see Stewart’s hit, and I’m not sure it was communicated clearly to them that he had struggled to get up and had fallen back down.; that probably should’ve been communicated to them,’’ said Thom Mayer, who is the medical director for the NFL Players Association.
Mayer said the Eagles properly followed the return-to-play concussion guidelines developed by the league, the union, and outside medical experts. But he said that if they had seen the whole episode with Bradley after he got hurt, it might’ve influenced their decision to let him go back into the game.
``It certainly raised my suspicion that he wouldn’t be going back in the game,’’ said Mayer, who was watching the game on TV. ``But from what we’ve heard from the trainers and the team physicians is that the (sideline) exam was normal.’’
Mayer said that the reason the trainers and doctors didn’t see Bradley’s injury or the aftermath of it was because they were tending to quarterback Kevin Kolb, who suffered his own concussion six plays before Bradley when he was sacked by Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.
At his Monday news conference, head coach Andy Reid admitted that he didn’t see Bradley stumble and fall to the ground until later when he saw a replay of it.
``I didn’t see the whole event live there,’’ he said.
Reid said Burkholder evaluated both Kolb and Bradley before they returned to the game. He also declined to make Burkholder available to the media.
Reid said the reason Bradley was later removed from the game was because ``he was showing signs of symptoms (of a concussion) when he came back off, the second time (trainer) Rick (Burkholder) evaluated him.’’
Reid wouldn’t say what those symptoms were, but Mayer said the linebacker had amnesia.
``It turns out that he later had amnesia for the event,’’ he said. ``So that’s part of the reason he was pulled from the game.’’
Amnesia is one of the symptoms listed by the league for not allowing a player back in a game.
Bradley initially sat out just 3 plays before briefly returning to the game. When he was checked again by Burkholder the next time he came back to the sideline, the amnesia was discovered.
``There’s two pieces here,’’ Mayer said. ``One, were the guidelines followed? In general, they were. But the fact that they didn’t know or have a description of what happened (with Bradley) probably needs to be looked at more carefully.
``Two, do the guidelines need to be changed to include things like this so that if you don’t happen to see it? We need to make sure the people treating the player have a clear description of what happened when they’re evaluating the player. So that may need to be strengthened over time.’’
For a recap of a busy day with the Eagles, see our previous posts by clicking here.